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PIA Press Release
Sunday, January 15, 2012

 

Feature: Moving on in Sendong's aftermath

by Danilo Escabarte

Muddied books, broken chairs and damaged classrooms greeted Jasmin Pagador, 5, and her classmates as they trooped back to Cabili Village Elementary School in Iligan City. Teachers and students tried to salvage whatever they could in the campus, which was hardly hit by tropical storm Sendong’s fury last December.

Jasmin went to see their room and found its floor still submerged in floodwater while the walls were badly damaged.

“Is that your room,” Rafael Lopa asked Jasmin in Filipino. Jasmin didn’t reply; she just stared at what was once her classroom.

“Gusto mo ipagawa natin yan (Do you want that we will rebuild it)?" he asked again.

Jasmin replied with a nod.

The Tsunami-like flashflood affected nineteen classrooms at Cabili Village Elementary School, damaged 475 arm chairs, 10 teachers tables and 5 water sanitation facilities.

Textbooks and other reading materials were buried in mud.

Sendong’s wrath may have destroyed school buildings and other vital infrastructures in its path, but has not broken Jasmin’s will to continue her schooling.

Her simple wish is “Maka-eskwela balik (To go back to school)."

Rafael Lopa heads the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), a non-governmental organization which is conducting relief and rehabilitation efforts in identified schools damaged by Sendong in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro city.

Cabili Village Elementary School has been one of PBSP’s recipient and partner school in implementing education-focused projects. Latest among them was a remedial reading program for students with difficulties in reading and comprehension.

Jasmin’s wish can come true. With government and non-government organizations pooling resources together to rebuild what was damaged by Sendong; going back to school and moving on is not impossible for Jasmin and the rest of the students who survived Sendong’s fury.

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