VP Robredo leads turnover of projects in Sumilao

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VP Leni Robredo leads the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Php 1.3 million dormitory project in Sumilao National High School. With her is Alfredo Pascual (to her right, in blue), president of Rotary Club of Makati and former president of University of the Philippines system, and Jose Antonio Villo (to her left, in yellow), mayor of Sumilao. (Photo by Mel Madera)



MALAYBALAY CITY ( 28 March 2019) – Vice President Leni Robredo visited the province to lead the turnover ceremonies of two projects in Sumilao, March 14.

The projects were the Php 1.3-million Dormitory Project in Sumilao National High School (SNHS) in Brgy. Vista Villa and farm inputs for farmers in Brgy. Puntian.

The Rotary Club of Makati has financed the 20-bed dormitory project in partnership with the Angat Buhay Program of the Office of the Vice President and the Alay Balay Foundation, Inc.

Robredo said the local government of Sumilao conceptualized the dormitory project last June and that the Rotary Club funded it after she presented it to them.

She said she is optimistic that it will address the school dropout problems in SNHS Vista Villa Annex as some students travel kilometers every day just to go to the school.

Rotary Club of Makati president Alfredo Pascual said the Dormitory in Vista Villa is just one of their projects in the countryside. He said, “Access to education is important for us.”

Pascual, who is also the immediate past president of the University of the Philippines (UP), added they are planning to give bicycles to high school students in the countryside.

Robredo was assisted by Pascual and Sumilao Mayor Jose Antonio Villo in the ribbon-cutting and turnover ceremonies. Members of the Sangguniang Bayan, teachers, students, parents and members of the media were present.

Ms. Love Joy Saripada, Grade 11 adviser said 20 students were selected from Grades 7 to 11 and all are members of the Indigenous Peoples particularly the Higaonon tribe.

“Some of the 20 girl students traveled 13 kilometers daily from their home to the school by means of walking or riding a habalhabal motorcycle and vice versa,” Saripada said. “It is very expensive and difficult for them doing it every day…”

She said SNHS Vista Annex has more than 500 students, most them are members of the IPs.

She said the school is serving six villages at the foot of Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park in Sumilao town such as Barangays Occasion, Licoan, Kulasi, Puntian, San Roque, and Vista Villa.

Maribel Dokina, 20, a resident of Brgy. Licoan and current Grade 11 General Academic Strand (GAS) student, is one of the 20 selected students to avail the free school dormitory.

She has eight siblings and her parents are both laborers in a pineapple plantation in the area. Her incoming Grade 8 sister will also be housed at the newly built dormitory.

She expressed her gratitude at being selected, adding that she and her sister travel 13 kilometers from their house in Brgy Licoan everyday starting at 2 a.m. “We reach the school after four hours of walking,” she said.

She added that if they can ride through habalhabal, they have to pay P100 fare per ride.

“Sometimes we failed to come to school due to the distance and fare budget. So we decided to stay in a boarding house near the school at P200 monthly rent,” Dokina said.

After the dormitory turnover, Robredo and others went to Brgy. Puntian particularly at the residence of Mr. Rio Ubod for the turnover of the carabaos, farm equipment, and farm inputs to farmer organizations.

Robredo said Sumilao is one of the pilot towns for OVP’s Angat Buhay Program. (Mel B. Madera)

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