Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation

PAGCOR helps resolve classroom congestion in Iloilo public schools

Monday | August 25, 2014 | 1:25 PM   [ gallery ]

PAGCOR helps resolve classroom congestion in Iloilo public schools
Aira Gombot, a Grade 7 student of Lambunao National High School, is among the new occupants of the brand new classrooms donated by PAGCOR in their school.

Lambunao, Iloilo – Thirteen year-old Aira Gombot is no stranger to hardship. At a tender age, she had seen how her parents struggle to raise their five children. Most of the time, the money they earn from selling fish could hardly make both ends meet.

Though Aira’s family receives a monthly subsidy of P2,800 from the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), it is not sufficient to cover their family’s basic needs.

To help augment her parents’ income, the young girl from the far-flung barrio of Bontoc sells bicho-bicho (traditional Filipino doughnut) in school. Every day, she travels almost 10 kilometers to her school in Lambunao, carrying the basket of bicho bicho. She proudly states that she earns P25 a day, which she uses for her daily fare and other school necessities.

Despite the adversities, Aira is a consistent honor student. She graduated valedictorian in grade school before moving to the Lambunao National High School (LNHS) as a Grade 7 student. She believes that education is the only thing that can improve her life. Aira wants to become a teacher someday to eventually help impoverished children like her achieve their dreams.

Because of poor yet deserving students like Aira, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) continues to build a legacy for the Filipino youth by constructing more classrooms in public schools nationwide. The agency has already given P5 billion to the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for the implementation of the school building project.

Aira’s school, the LNHS, recently received a two-storey, eight-classroom building worth P11.27 million from PAGCOR.

PAGCOR helps resolve classroom congestion in Iloilo public schools
PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat, Jr. (center) and some PAGCOR officers together with the students of Lambunao National High School.

Apart from this donation, the state-gaming corporation has also allocated P207.6 million for the construction of 139 classrooms in the province of Iloilo, particularly in the towns of Oton, Leon, Janiuay, Pototan, Estancia, Balasan, Iloilo City, La Paz, Jaro, Pavia and Ajuy.

Of the 139 classrooms, 64 had been completed and turned-over to various schools including the LNHS, Janiuay National High School, Oton National High School, Leon National High School, Pototan National Comprehensive High School, Estancia National High School and Balasan National High School.

Meanwhile, the construction of ten classrooms in San Isidro Uswag Senior and Jaro II Elementary School is nearing completion. The remaining 65 classrooms are multi-storey buildings to be constructed in La Paz National High School, Iloilo National High School, Pavia National High School and Bucana Bunglas National High School.

During the recent turn-over ceremony of the PAGCOR-funded classrooms in LNHS, Chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat, Jr. reiterated the corporation’s support to the education sector. He said the agency is addressing the perennial problem on classroom shortage through its Matuwid na Daan Sa Silid-Aralan school building project.

According to Naguiat, this is the first time in nearly three decades of PAGCOR’s existence that the agency allocated billions of pesos to build classrooms for the Filipino youth. “Alam natin ang matinding kakulangan sa silid-aralan ng ating mga public schools, kaya dito naka-focus ang atensyon ng PAGCOR. Lahat ng pwedeng tulong na maibigay sa education sector, ibibigay namin,” Naguiat said.

Meantime, LNHS Principal Luda Ahumada related that their school used to hold classes in old classrooms that were built way back in the 1960’s. “Despite their dilapidated condition, these rooms had to be used by students because we lack buildings and other facilities. The building was so old that some parts of the roof were already falling off. But now, you can see the transformation because of the two-storey building we received from PAGCOR. Thanks for believing that education can make a difference in the lives of our students here,” she said.

PAGCOR helps resolve classroom congestion in Iloilo public schools
Students of Janiuay National Comprehensive High School in Iloilo now study in 18 spacious and well-ventilated classrooms donated by PAGCOR.

Ahumada added that they used to regard PAGCOR as just a gaming operator. “But after the construction of our new classrooms, I realize that PAGCOR has been helping a lot of people. PAGCOR has a way of giving back to the community,” she stressed.

On the other hand, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor underscored the importance of decent learning facilities in providing students with quality education.

A product of public education, Defensor proudly shared how it helped him dream big and realize his potentials. “I am a child of the rice fields of Mina, Iloilo. My parents were both teachers. I am very passionate about public education because as a child of the rice fields, I know how crucial education is. Without education, the child of the farm or the child of the barrio doesn’t stand a chance in this competitive world. The only way to give them a fighting chance is to give them quality education,” he said.

The governor noted however that the goal of giving poor children quality education cannot be realized without the proper facilities like classrooms. “I hope PAGCOR continues with its program of promoting and upgrading the quality of education in the country (through its school building project),” Defensor said.

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