.5-M desks eyed for public school pupils | Inquirer News
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.5-M desks eyed for public school pupils

By: - Reporter / @TarraINQ
/ 02:38 AM August 30, 2011

Seven years before her death, Corazon Aquino started to build yet another legacy in the spirit of people power.

As Filipino students faced another year of learning under a tree instead of a classroom, on the floor instead of seated on a chair, the former President gathered business leaders to find a solution.

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The response was a project that brought close to 24,000 school desks to some 120 public schools from 2002 to 2007.

Last week, the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF) and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) revived the program as lack of resources continued to hobble the country’s public schools.

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“I am sure you have made mom very happy again,” Viel Aquino-Dee, an Aquino daughter and now NCAF trustee, said of the project that would use the Internet, among others, to reach donors here and abroad.

“I am very hopeful that all Filipino schoolchildren will soon be spending their formative years in a more conducive learning environment,” Dee said at the launch in Makati City.

Target

This time, the project aims to make a dent in the 5-million shortage in the public school system’s seating capacity, said Rafa Lopa, executive director in both NCAF and PBSP.

The goal is to bring some 486,303 seats to 2,523 public elementary and high schools in the country’s poorest provinces, mainly those in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“We need to provide a platform where each individual (can contribute) however small it may be, (but) if put together, can really effect a lot of change,” Lopa said.

He said PBSP and NCAF wanted to reach out to individual donors this time, adding that the project mainly depended on “the usual suspects” in corporate sponsorship in its first outing during Cory Aquino’s time.

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“The reason why we put this platform is also to mobilize many people who want to give. You’ll be surprised actually that many people want to help but they don’t know how. And I think it’s important to be able to communicate that this is one way for them to actually do so,” Lopa said.

Online facility

Donors may log on to www.igivebacknow.pbsp.org.ph, an online facility powered by Union Bank and managed by PBSP, to give their share either through credit card, debit or other convenient payment

“This is in the spirit of people power, and President Noy has also mentioned that everybody has to do their share,” Lopa said.

“The launch of this digital platform for individual and corporate giving is indeed a very welcome development as it could further scale up this very important school desk project named after my mother to complement many other classrooms construction projects,” Dee said.

NCAF and PBSP have long been involved in the education advocacy and are running a program to build some 10,000 public school classrooms.

Government figures show that the public school system is short by at least 60,000 classrooms to reach the ideal ratio of one classroom for 45 students.

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TAGS: Corazon Aquino, desks, Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF) and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), public schools, Rafa Lopa, schoolchildren, Viel Aquino-Dee
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