Girls’ dorm for high school students unveiled in Bukidnon
MANILA, Philippines — High school girls in Sumilao, Bukidnon, may now ditch their daily ordeal of walking 13 kilometers just to get to school.
This as the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and its private partners on Thursday opened a girls’ dormitory for Grade 11 and 12 students in Sumilao.
Vice President Leni Robredo said it has been a long-term vision of the local government to link the homes of students and their schools in order to curb the increasing dropout rates.
“Panaginip po ni Mayor na magdala ng dormitory dito sa inyo dahil alam po natin kung gaano kalalayo iyong mga inuuwian ng mga estudyante. Kaya hopefully, dahil po sa dormitory na ito, mag-improve iyong ating participation rate (at bumaba) iyong dropout rate,” she said.
Thursday’s turnover of the P1.2-million building to Sumilao National High School – Vista Villa Annex was led by Robredo and Sumilao Mayor Jose Antonio Villo. The construction of the girls’ dormitory was supported by the Rotary Club of Makati — a partner of OVP’s anti-poverty Angat Buhay program.
According to OVP, students can stay at the girls’ dorm for free during school days. The residence can accommodate up to 20 female students for now.
As for a dormitory for male high school students, OVP said they are still looking for partners who can support its construction.
Robredo’s connection to Sumilao dates way back when she was still a practicing lawyer. She fought for Sumilao farmers’ right to their land.
In 2016, the farmers showed support for Robredo’s vice presidential bid by marching all the way to Manila from Bukidnon.
“Mula po noong abogado pa lang ako, noong nag-congressman ako, saka noong nag-vice president na ako, talaga pong malapit sa puso ko iyong bayan niyo,” she noted.
Angat Buhay project is an OVP program in partnership with private organizations. OVP sought support of the private sector since the office has limited budget.
As of now, 176 communities nationwide are being supported by Angat Buhay project, including Sumilao and other towns in Bukidnon.
“Iyong problema talaga namin iyong limitasyon, iyong pondo, kasi wala namang malaking pondo iyong opisina namin for programs. So more than half of the time, umaasa talaga kami sa private partners,” Robredo said in an ambush interview after the turnover ceremony.
“Gaya noong mga tulong na nadala namin dito sa Sumilao, halos lahat hiningi namin iyon sa mga private partners. Halimbawa iyong dormitory ngayon na binigay natin, ito, IP (indigenous people) community iyong magbe-benefit, kasi 98 percent ng population ng school na ito, manggagaling talaga sa IP communities,” she added.
For 2019, the proposed budget of OVP was at P543 million — P95 million lower than its 2018 budget. /kga
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