Friday | Mar. 24, 2017 | 1:00 PM
School principal Myrna Bernal and Assistant Vice President for Community Relations and Services Arnell Ignacio lead the unveiling of the PAGCOR marker during the turn-over of the new two-storey, eight-classroom building in Nicomedes Tubar Sr. National High School in San Dionisio, Iloilo.
San Dionisio, Iloilo – Grade 8 student Rhea Salbivia of Nicomedes Tubar, Sr. National High School (NTSNHS) still recalls how she and her classmates would attend classes under a tree after super typhoon Yolanda destroyed many of their classrooms in November 2013.
Whenever it rained, their classes were either suspended or they had to move to a covered area – disrupting their ongoing lessons. They endured this terrible situation for six months until the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) donated a two-storey, eight-classroom building to their school.
NTSNHS is one of the four public schools in the province of Iloilo which received new classrooms from PAGCOR. A total of 63 classrooms were completed and turned over by the state-run gaming firm to Iloilo recently.
Aside from NTSNHS, among other school building project recipients were the 115-year old Iloilo National High School (INHS) which received two four-storey-20 classroom-buildings (total of 40 classrooms); the Canas Elementary School (three classrooms) and the Iloilo River Plains Integrated School (12 classrooms).
Grade 8 student Rhea Salbivia and her classmates at the Nicomedes Tubar Sr. National High School in San Dionisio, Iloilo will longer need to attend classes under a tree after PAGCOR donated a two-storey, eight-classroom building to their school.
The turn-over of classrooms in all four schools was graced by PAGCOR Assistant Vice President for Community Relations Arnell Ignacio. “Kahit malayo, alam natin na sila ang mas nangangailangan kaya ang PAGCOR ang lalapit sa kanila,” he said during the event.
Ignacio added the school building program is just one of PAGCOR’s many commitments to the country, as more than half of the agency’s revenues go to the government and other mandated contributions. “One of the main reasons why PAGCOR was established was to help generate funds for nation-building. That is the reason why we are here with you today,” he said.
Iloilo’s Provincial Administrator Dr. Raul Banias, who also graced the turn-over ceremonies, reported that the classroom shortage in their province worsened after super typhoon Yolanda ravaged the Visayas region in November 2013. “Almost 60 percent of the classrooms here in our province were either partially or totally destroyed. There were schools that were literally wiped-out by the typhoon,” he shared.
More than 1,000 Grade 11 students in Iloilo National High School (INHS) are now using the four-storey, 20-classroom building from PAGCOR.
But in spite of the massive damage, the local government was able to rehabilitate and rebuild the classrooms in many public schools through the help of stakeholders like PAGCOR.
The agency, according to Banias, donated buildings that were structurally designed to withstand super typhoons similar to Yolanda. “It’s fortunate that PAGCOR came to our rescue. PAGCOR has built many schools in the province of Iloilo – both elementary and secondary schools. This somehow addressed our education-restoration program and in a way addressed the needs of some public schools as the Department of Education’s K to 12 Program is implemented. So the Ilonggos are very thankful for this heartfelt assistance from PAGCOR,” Banias added.
One of the biggest recipients of PAGCOR’s school building project is the 115-year old INHS which received a total of 40 classrooms.
Built in 1902, INHS currently has a student population of close to 5,000 students. It is also the only high school in Region VI that offers four tracks (Academic, Technical Vocational, Arts and Design and Sports Class) of the K to 12 curriculum.
INHS School Principal Dr. Nordy Siason, Jr. said the first building donated by PAGCOR to their school is already being utilized by more than 1,000 Grade 11 students while the second PAGCOR building will be used by upcoming Grade 12 students next school year.
“Many of our classrooms here in INHS were built in 1950’s. But the construction of PAGCOR buildings boosted the self-esteem of our students, teachers and stakeholders. Kasi first time nilang nakita ang four-storey building na ito na bago at maganda ang pagkaka-gawa,” Siason shared.
Pete Gabriel Ledesma, Grade 11 student and President of the Supreme Student Government (SSG) said he and his fellow senior high school students are privileged to study in the PAGCOR school building.
“Without the new PAGCOR classrooms, we might be attending classes under a tree. One way to attain quality education is to have a good learning environment. That’s why we are very thankful to PAGCOR that we have been blessed with this school building,” Ledesma said.
In the province of Iloilo alone, PAGCOR already donated a total of 484 classrooms. Of this number, 313 classrooms in 47 sites were completed while 171 classrooms in 21 sites are awaiting completion.