Gov’t to distribute bikes, boats for students in far-flung areas
MANILA, Philippines – In provinces where villages are far from the city center, Filipino children are forced to walk long distances just to get to school.
Such conditions have repeatedly been featured in documentaries and films about poverty in the country. The Department of Education (DepEd) said it is now addressing the problem by distributing bikes and boats in rural areas.
“We want to let every student know that we have not forgotten them and that they are not alone,” Education Secretary Armin Luistro said in a statement Thursday.
DepEd has inked partnerships with the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation and Bikes for the Philippines for its “Pedals and Paddles Project.”
“We have identified schools where boats and bikes are important for kids—not only for them to have access to education but also to keep them in school,” Luistro said.
He pointed out that reduced travel time would give students more time to study and improve their performance in school. It also encourages them to attend school regularly.
DepEd said there is a lot of disparity when it comes to students’ travel time. While a two-minute walk is enough for students attending the Janlud Primary School in Libacao, Aklan, those in Pangapuyan Elementary School in Talon-Talon, Zamboanga need to ride a boat for 90 minutes to get to school. On the other hand, children attending the Sawmill Elementary School in Masbate take four hours of travel.
“This is a simple project but it will touch many lives,” Luistro said.
DepEd will distribute the boats to communities while the bikes will be given to Grade 7 to 12 students.
DepEd is also calling for donations through its partner organizations. A boat costs P10,000 each while a bike costs P2,000.
Donations for boats may be sent to the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, Inc., through its BDO account (Peso Acct. #003170-134579 and Dollar Acct. # 103170-148588), and online through PayPal. Meanwhile, donations for bikes may be sent to Bikes for the Philippines Foundation, Inc. through its BDO accounts (Peso Acct. #5420-128374 and Dollar Acct. #10-5420-128803). For check donations abroad, interested parties can send their donations to Bikes for the Philippines through the following address: Jo Grant, Bikes for the Philippines, Inc., 15 Amber Rd, Westminster, MA 01473.
For more information, please contact the Office of the Undersecretary for Partnerships and External Linkages at (+632) 633-7207, 638-8637, and 638-8639 or email the Adopt-A-School program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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