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PIA Press Release

SM turns over 21st school building and their first in Davao City

by Prix D. Banzon

By Prix D. Banzon

Davao City (17 June) -- The SM Prime Holdings, Inc. through its SM Foundation, Inc. (SMFI) led by its executive director Debbie P. Sy has turned over a one-storey two-classroom school building to the Tugbok National High School (TNHS) in Davao City on Monday, June 15, 2009.

The schoolbuilding for TNHS is SM's 21st donation around the country and the first in Davao City.

Sy said it has always been the core mission of SM to anchor its corporate social responsibilities on areas that would respond to the social needs of the marginalized segments of society as it continue to build more structures and businesses around the country.

The newly built school building is equipped with student desks, comfort room, teacher's desk, electric fans, lighting facilities and will be revisited every two years for repainting and other maintenance work.

Joining Sy at the turnover ceremony were some private and government officials namely Davao City Councilor Myrna Daludo-Ortiz, representing Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, SMFI executive director for Education, Linda M. Atayde, SM Prime Holdings, Inc. regional operations for Mindanao Debbie A. Go, Department of Education assistant schools division superintendent Ma. Antonia P. Diaz, TNHS principal Reuel A. Alvarez. Witnessing the turnover are the students, parents and other members of the community.

Sy in an interview said SM's areas of advocacy is anchored on four concerns namely education through college scholarship and donation of school buildings, health through medical missions, mobile clinics, and establishment of wellness and health centers, mall-based outreach programs encourage donations of basic commodities, books, medicines, toys and relief goods for distribution to depressed communities and community, religious and housing programs include livelihood training, vegetable farming, construction and repair of churches and building of SM Foundation Gawad Kalinga Villages.

Sy said they find the education program a big winner because a scholar once he or she graduates from college and land on a job can help lift the family's living condition and at the same time get the chance to send another sibling to school.

She said as part of their scholarship program, they conduct an in-house job fair where the SM Group of Companies participate and many of their graduates are hired for top positions like managers while some of their graduates are already working in Italy, Singapore and Korea, she added.

SMFI executive director for Education, Linda M. Atayde said their scholarship program started in 1993 and latest figure of their graduates already reached 1,072.

Atayde said their scholars are graduates of public high schools who belong to the top 20 percent of the class whose family income should not be more than P150,000 annually.

She said they do not require a very high average of their grade as they pegged it at 2.5 so that these students could sustain the scholarship even as she said that they noticed that their scholars are meeting over the average while one-third of them are at the top of the class. Some even graduated as summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude, she said.

Atayde emphasized that their scholars are not just limited to the financial assistance given them but also undergo value formation and education that would help the youth for their growth and advancement.

On the other hand Atayde said 14 more schools are being worked out for 2009 around the country with two school buildings due for turnover next month in Bacolod City and another one is being programmed for Davao City this year.

Meanwhile Raffy Odi, president of Supreme Student Council of TNHS were among those grateful students of the recent donation of SM and hearing also of SM's scholarship program, he said they will discuss this during their assembly in October so that more students could avail of the scholarship program for college education.

He also said that they really need more classrooms as their enrolment kept on increasing with total enrollees at the TNHS now over 500. They welcome school building donations as it makes their classes more comfortable and inspired to focus more on their studies, he added. (PIA) [top]

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