Roxas City News – Maintaining its commitment to improve the quality of education in the country, PLDT recently turned over a two-classroom disaster-resilient school building for students of the Roxas City School for Philippine Craftsmen (RCSPC).
The classrooms, worth more than Php3 million, are the first disaster-resilient rooms built in Roxas City and will benefit more than 1,000 students. These are also the 24th and 25th classrooms built by PLDT out of the used batteries it has donated for the Balik-Baterya Program, a partnership between Oriental and Motolite Marketing Corporation and Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) that encourages companies to donate their used lead acid batteries (ULABs) in exchange for various education projects.
During the turnover, PLDT Community Relations Public Affairs Consultant and Head Evelyn del Rosario said that the project honors the partnerships PLDT has created through the years in support of the Company’s effort in creating sustainable solutions for poverty reduction.
“We believe that as a corporation, it is our responsibility to share our resources on causes that drive the development of this country. And we also believe that education is a prime asset that will help drive the kind of development we wish for our nation,” del Rosario said.
The new classrooms donated by PLDT will be used to hold cosmetology and dressmaking classes for Grade 7 and 8 students.
CHANGING LIVES THROUGH EDUCATION
As Roxas City’s first disaster-resilient school building, it can withstand three-hour fires, seven-magnitude earthquakes and super typhoons as strong as Super Typhoon Yolanda.
RCSPC Principal Rodrigo Jeremias, Jr. said that the classrooms are the best gifts RCSPC received after Typhoon Yolanda tore out the vocational school in 2013.
A total of 40 out of the 49 classrooms in RCSPC were partially damaged while two needed complete replacement. This affected the school’s performance and discouraged students from going to school.
In 2013, RCSPC only attained an overall average mean percentage score (MPS) of 52.37, which meant that the school has been underperforming. Additionally, the school’s enrolment dropped from 1,077 in 2013 to 1,026 in 2014.
“The new classrooms are inspiring more students to do better and continue their studies,” he said.
With the new school building, Jeremias hopes to improve the school’s MPS and enrolment by 10 percent.
For Grade 9 student Keejay Launio, the new classrooms give him new hope to do better in school and achieve his dream of becoming a lawyer. After the typhoon, he had difficulty maintaining his grades because he had to hold classes under the trees while several construction activities have been going on.
Unlike his classmates though, Launio took every experience as a learning opportunity. He learned how to be more resilient and hopeful. With a better classroom, he knew he can excel more in the future.
“The typhoon really taught me a lot of things, but the most important thing is that disasters and hardships are not hindrances to success. We survived after the typhoon, and because of that I am now more alert in case situations like that happen again. I know this new skill will help me overcome all challenges and succeed in life if I put my heart into it,” he said.
“We in PLDT always put a premium in education and try as much as we can in aligning most, if not all, of our projects in improving the quality of learning of our students. That is why we help provide safe, secure, comfortable, and conducive learning facilities for our students, like this school building,” del Rosario added.
PARTNERSHIPS FOR DEVELOPMENT
The Motolite-PBSP Balik-Baterya Program, launched in 2006, aims to protect the environment through the proper disposal and recycling of ULABs. To encourage more companies to donate batteries, Motolite buys the ULABs at a premium price. The proceeds are then used to fund various projects on education through the LEAP (Learning Enhancement Assistance Package) being implemented by PBSP. These include provision of new classrooms, schools desks, books, supplemental feeding for children, teachers training, and the conduct of reading sessions.
PLDT joined the program in 2007 and has become the top donor with more than two million kilos of batteries already donated. It is also the first corporate donor that used its proceeds for building classrooms all over the country.
PLDT has also provided 22 mini-libraries, two computer laboratories, and other infrastructure projects out of its ULAB donations.
“It is always an honor to contribute to schools that make it their mission to hone the future of the country’s skilled workforce. In PLDT, we do not only touch lives, we change lives and we move lives. And this is what we will continue to do for sustainability and for this country,” del Rosario added.