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PIA Press Release
2010/11/09

1M pencils to help kids fight illiteracy

Pasig City (9 November) -- Thousands of Grade 1 pupils in Luzon and Visayas will receive free pencils from Newell Rubbermaid starting this month until early 2011 as part of the company's support to the efforts of the Department of Education (DepEd) for keeping students in school.

"Poverty has certainly taken its toll on education, making it hard for parents to send their children to school and making it even harder for the department to achieve its Education For All commitment to the world. And this is true all over the world," explained Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC. "With these free pencils, we are certainly taking a step towards making our goal a reality because these are among our kids' basic weapon against illiteracy."

Newell Rubbermaid, the makers of Mongol brand of pencils, through the Embassy of the United States of America to the Philippines headed by US Ambassador Harry Thomas, will donate a total of one million pieces of Mongol pencils through the DepEd, Boy Scout of the Philippines (BSP), and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in a turn-over ceremony at Aurora Quezon Elementary School in San Andres Street, Malate, Manila yesterday.

With this partnership, DepEd, through its Adopt-a-School Program, will receive a third of the pencils for distribution to selected grade 1 pupils in Luzon and Visayas while the remaining two-thirds will be turned over to BSP and USAID for distribution in other areas nationwide.

Luistro furthered that because of poverty, among the major challenges of DepEd is the participation and completion rates of the students. He admitted that this will be unreachable without the support of all education stakeholders.

"We at DepEd have been looking into different possibilities and strategies to be able to increase participation and completion rates of our students and to address all education backlogs. Hence, we thank Newell Rubbermaid and the US Embassy for these pencils, and more importantly, for supporting Philippine basic education," said Luistro. "Like what we always say, education is everybody's business and not just the government's."

At P6.00 each, the pencil donation of Newell Rubbermaid to DepEd amounts to about P1,980,000.

Representing DepEd were Undersecretaries Francis Varela and Lino Rivera. Also present during the turn-over ceremony were US Ambassador Harry Thomas, BSP Chairman Jose Eduardo Delgado, representatives from Asia-Pacific Regional Sub-Committees of the BSP, representatives from Newell Rubbermaid, and Manila City government officials. (DepEd) [top]

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