PGMA opens major education programs
By Danny O Sagun
Dagupan City (25 February) -- The local school board fund of Binalonan town of P3.5 million was matched by the municipality's favorite daughter, President Macapagal-Arroyo in appreciation for the efforts of the town to provide quality education for school children.
The President, who visited her mother's hometown yesterday to launch and open vital school programs and projects, committed the amount in her speech after leading the inauguration of the two-storey-four-classroom building at the Binalonan South Central School.
She said that she would match whatever amount the municipality would provide to the local school board for the improvement and development of school facilities The town this year allotted P3.5 million for the special education fund which is one percent share from real property taxes, according to Mayor Ramon Guico, Jr.
She noted that the government was able to give such counterpart fund for school projects because of the financial reform agenda like the expanded value added tax law which helped the country collect more revenues and shielded the Philippines from the global recession.
"The people of Binalonan have reasons to feel optimistic despite the worsening global economic recession. The structures that enable us to improve our lives had been started even before anyone noticed that a global recession would occur. We had our shields already," she said in her speech.
The Chief Executive after her speech proceeded to the pre-school classroom to observe a demonstration on the lesson for the first day of school based on the new standardized curriculum for pre-schoolers. The lesson was about reading and writing readiness.
She thereafter launched the Essential Health Care Package (EHCP) for school children, a program under the World Health Organization-Unicef-sponsored 'Health Promoting Schools" project for day care centers and elementary schools.
At the hand-washing area, she gamely joined the pre-schoolers wash their hands properly. She also observed how they brushed their teeth and how the school doctor and nutritionist administered deworming suspension to the kids.
The program is to be replicated in all schools in the country thru the help of local government units by utilizing their respective special education fund, according to education Assistant Secretary Thelma Santos.
The EHCP aims to reduce neglected childhood diseases like parasitic infections and dental problems which are two principal causes of absenteeism among school kids.
Earlier upon arrival, the President inaugurated the Dona Eva Macapagal Library Hub at the Don Juan Macaraeg National High School and inspected the e-Library located at a separate building in the school premises.
The Hub, the first in Region 1, contains some 35,000 book volumes to be borrowed by public schools within the Pangasinan II schools division. The e-Library is fully computerized with Internet access. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]