Sarangani arms tanks, troops with books
by Russtum G. Pelima
Alabel, Sarangani (29 September) -- In its battle to end poverty through education, Sarangani local government, the private sector and the Armed Forces of the Philippines launched the Education Revolution "Karunungan Kontra Kahirapan" Monday (September 27) with military tanks and trucks carrying thousands of books.
Hundreds of men in uniform, local officials, parents, teachers and pupils put on their green "Karunungan Kontra Kahirapan" armband at the launching program in Alabel Central Elementary School.
Four trucks of the Philippine Army's 1st Mechanized Infantry and troops from the 73rd Infantry Battalion carried 37,570 workbooks for the province's Grade I and Grade II pupils to be distributed within the next three days.
In his State of Sarangani Education Report, Governor Migs Dominguez stressed the strengthening of the community's participation for education through parent mentoring.
"Before, our province marked the lowest scores in testing centers," Dominguez said. "We have increased our National Achievement Test from 41% in 2006 to 69% this year."
"This is despite our lack of 282 classrooms and 319 teachers for our children," the governor noted.
Department of Education assistant regional director Allan Farnazo congratulated the local government for building 28 new integrated high schools in Sarangani for the province's remotest communities.
"I am also proud to announce that your province has the highest participation rate in the whole region," Farnazo said.
For his part, Vice Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon said "through education, we do not only give our communities fish to eat, but we teach them how to fish so that they will have a better future."
The "joint forces" of the private sector, provincial government, officials and employees of Sarangani's seven towns - Alabel, Malapatan, Glan, Maasim, Kiamba, Maitum and Malungon - will lead the distribution of workbooks to Alabel's 30 elementary schools simultaneously in the afternoon.
Distribution of the rest of the workbooks to the other 200 elementary schools in the province was scheduled on September 28-29.
Private sector entities joining the Education Revolution were UnionBank's Educational Learning System "As A Filipino" Reading Program (workbooks for Grade II), Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI), Synergeia Foundation, Alcantara Foundation (AF), Conal Holdings Corporation, Finfish Hatchery, Inc., Southern Philippines Power Corporation (SSPC), Philippine Army's 1002nd Infantry rigade, 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade and 73rd Infantry Battalion.
"We are joining Sarangani's Education Revolution because we understand education as the key to prosperity and it is our corporate social responsibility to help the children," SMI general manager Mark Williams said. "We have already shown our commitment to improve human capital through education."
SMI was awarded regional outstanding stakeholder for education in 2009.
"Parents and children - you are the stars of our celebration today," SPPC human resource manager Joel Aton said.
"We have seen how much you need for education and so we focused our programs on education by giving scholarships, building classrooms, and giving of school supplies," Aton said.
SPPC has been reproducing workbooks for Sarangani schools and committed to continue this effort until 2018 with increase in the number of books to be reproduced every year.
"All you need now is to read more and study harder," Conal Holdings Corporation project assurance manager Rommel Tomas Falgui said.
"For a successful revolution, we need access to weapons, that is our books, in our fight against poverty through education," AF executive director Richlie Lyndon Magtulis said.
Nestle Philippine also launched its Koko Crunch Project with 42,000 boxes of Koko Crunch cereals worth P5.5 million for Sarangani school children with the Philippine Business for Social Progress P520,000 fund to buy milk. (Sarangani Info Office) [top]