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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dream Satellite for Manatad

In earnest hopes of reaching out to indigent students in mountain barangays, The FREEMAN Foundation visited Manatad Elementary School in Sibonga town, which is part of Cebu's 1st district, located 50 kilometers southeast of Cebu City, or about an hour drive from the city, and another two-hour ride onboard a motorcycle-for-hire (habal-habal) from the Poblacion.

The purpose of the ocular inspection last February was to find out if the school could accommodate a television set in line with the foundation's special project, dubbed "Balik Eskwela", in coordination with Operation Damayan of the Philippine Star News' Dream Satellite Project in line with its 28th anniversary.

Three television sets are already in our Administration building which are scheduled for turnover to three school-beneficiaries in Sibonga, Bohol and Siquijor.

TF General Manager Melandro "Boy" Mendoza first came to barangay Manatad last year to supposedly hand over a Dream Satellite unit, as part of the multimedia tools that the company will be giving out to support the call for schools to come up with educational equipment aimed at improving teaching strategies and methodologies. However, the school doesn't have a proper place for the equipment.

Sir Boy even noticed that the pupils used empty cans of infant formula as improvised chairs. Thus, he suggested to the foundation for the possible procurement of chairs and tables and the launching of a drive to solicit cash donations to fund the repair of the school building.

Recently, the University of San Carlos Campus Lions Club donated a check for tables and chairs of six classrooms in response to an earlier report on the need for renovation of classrooms and procurement of new equipment in preparation for the Balik Eskwela project.

The check was formally turned over to Sir Boy early last week by club secretary Sheryl Antoinette Go and witnessed by club president Derek Go and club founder Devin Go with Janet Montenegro of TF Marketing department and
Ma. Faith Maroto of TF Circulation department.

Derek specified that the donation for tables and chairs for two classrooms were sourced out from club funds, while club member Jose Mari Gochangco donated said equipment for two classrooms, Devin for one classroom, and another club member Jason Yu for one classroom.

Also, in a meeting with Rep. Eduardo "Eddie" Rivera Gullas of the first district of Cebu, the congressman facilitated assistance through district engineer Daisy Toledo for the construction of a classroom to house the Dream Satellite unit.

Along with TFF Administrator Dr. Remedios Yap-Bacasmas, reporter Garry Lao, Maroto and Sir Boy, we presented the project proposal and glad to have already touched first base in the first phase of this project.

To give you an idea how miserable the state of the school is, I would cite the report of Liv Campo, stating that, "the public school seemed, at first glance, abandoned had it not been for the presence of pupils scurrying about the place waiting for their teachers to arrive."

“The steep path and the rains did not hinder the seven-man team to climb the mountains of Sibonga leading to the place where the said school nestled," the report went.

Upon reaching the place, the group was met by the sight of classrooms with broken windows. At a closer look inside each of the four dilapidated buildings, housing three classrooms, run-down desks and rickety chairs were noted.

According to Charity Peresores, the school’s Grade 3 teacher, these desks and chairs were even borrowed from the Sibonga Central School.

“Ako gyung gihangyo ang principal. Unya amo pa nang ipa-repair kay gubaon man,” Peresores said on the equipment that actually the mother school had discarded.

Meanwhile, a proposal will also be presented to Ms. Annalee Duran Flores, Mall Marketing Manager of SM City Cebu this week for the possible donation of educational tools like books for Grades 1 to 6.

The core group is scheduled to conduct an assessment on the number of enrollees and a consultation with parents and teachers for needed manpower during the construction of the building, and the scheduled fun day for the Balik Eskwela to happen in either late part of June or early part of July in line with The FREEMAN's 87th year in the community newspapering industry.

The foundation is also knocking on the hearts of TF readers to help provide school supplies for the pupils there. The foundation is also open for cash donations. Let me just remind the reading public that all donations must be coursed and accepted at The FREEMAN Foundation and will be issued official receipts. This policy is implemented to protect the foundation's integrity and the good intentions of you - donors.

Also, it has been decided that the foundation will accept all donations on behalf of patients and be the one to allocate specific funds to beneficiaries.

The decision was reached after having noticed that some unscrupulous individuals took advantage of the old scheme of accepting donations by not informing the foundation about the actual condition of the beneficiaries. As coordinator of this special project, I would not allow an inch of these kind of people to prey on the innate goodness of those who have been very supportive of our mission to be of service.

The foundation learned that some guardians and/or relatives of beneficiaries collected benefits for their patients even though these patients already died. Donors do not have to worry though because your donations are in good hands since it is the foundation itself that settles hospital bills and purchases medicines for the patients.

On how you could be of further help to indigent pupils in Manatad or to our sick indigent children, please email me at
pinay_mangatkatay@yahoo.com, or text 0921-5323616. Thanks for living a purpose-driven life!