Pension saved for 20 years builds two classrooms
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO— Through the kindness of a World War II veteran, 70 Grade 3 pupils on Monday moved into their new classrooms in a school ravaged by Mount Pinatubo’s 1991 eruptions in Zambales province.
Remigio Cabacar, 87, used his pension from the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) to fund the construction of two classrooms in Laoag Elementary School in San Marcelino town.
“[The pension] is from the taxes paid for by Juan de la Cruz and I’ve returned it in the form of classrooms,” Cabacar told the Inquirer on the telephone.
Cabacar was able to save up to P1 million from his P5,000 monthly pension from the PVAO since he applied for it 20 years ago.
“It feels good to be helping people,” he said.
Cabacar was a 17-year-old farmer when he joined the US Navy shortly before American forces advanced to Luzon in April 1945 for the final push of the liberation campaign against the Japanese.
He received the Philippine Occupation Medal and Philippine Liberation Medal after serving at the Subic Naval Base for six months as part of the group that replenished supplies in boats.
By the end of 1945, he worked in the United States, serving also in the Korean War. After retiring as senior chief petty officer in 1989, he worked at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Cabacar said he chose to help Laoag Elementary School because that was where he studied in Grades 3 and 4 when the family left Barangay Omaya in San Narciso town. His wife, Carolina Battad, used to teach in the school.
Cabacar, now an American citizen, said he decided to put to good use the PVAO money since he could live on his pension from the American government.
He also financed the repair of the ceiling of another building in the school and is raising P132,225 to put a roof over the school’s stage.
Cabacar said the children were very happy about having new classrooms. Every room is complete with blackboards, chairs and toilet with running water.
The school has 15 classrooms for its more than 400 students.
Cabacar’s wife and four children, who came from Fort Washington in Maryland, joined him during the blessing and turnover last month.
His poor beginnings prodded him to help in the education of young Filipinos. He said his parents, Teodorica and Jose, natives of San Narciso, were illiterate but were honest and hardworking people. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon