Chamber of Mines inks deal with DepEd to aid public schools
The Chamber of Mines of the Philippines on Wednesday signed an agreement with the Department of Education (DepEd) to extend assistance for infrastructure, electrification and other learning resources critical in public schools.
“This is a welcome development as we need all the help that we could muster to make quality education really accessible to as many Filipinos,” said Education Secretary Armin Luistro, who signed the agreement.
“We will take into consideration the priority needs of the school and it could be power, learning tools, infrastructure, security, etc,” Luistro said in a statement on Thursday.
The DepEd and the chamber agreed to partner for “Minahan para sa Karunungan at Kinabukasan (Mining for Knowledge and the Future)” through which mining firms would “contribute any form of assistance” to public schools.
Chamber members would be encouraged to support students from kindergarten to high school in areas where they operate, with the DepEd helping in the selection of beneficiaries.
Philip Romualdez, chamber president, said 14 member firms had been pursuing education assistance programs in the last decade.
“Our member companies in the minerals development industry have been supporting education initiatives under the industry’s Social Development and Management Plan as well as corporate social responsibility program,” Romualdez said in a statement.
The DepEd continues to grapple with limited funding, a perennial problem that has resulted in shortages in critical resources, among them classrooms, teachers, books, desks, and toilet and sanitation facilities.
Luistro earlier said he expected to cover shortages in books and chairs by December.
The classroom backlog stands at 66,000, but the DepEd has received pledges of support from local government units, corporate donors and other private sector partners to fill resource gaps in two years.
Some 9,000 schools in remote areas still have no power, 7,950 without water and at least 4,000 schools lack both electricity and water, according to Luistro.
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio cautioned that DepEd’s partnership with the mining sector “should not detract from growing popular opposition to large-scale mining in communities around the country.”
“The DepEd should ensure that a discussion of the social and environmental costs of mining is incorporated in environmental education in schools as mandated by Republic Act No. 9512 (Environmental Education Act),” Tinio said.
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