‘It takes a village to raise a child’
GENERAL SANTOS CITY (July 9, 2018) – Councilor Elizabeth Mama of Barangay San Jose of this city believes that education is key to unlocking the future for indigenous people (IP) like her.
She couldn’t hold off her tears when she thanked engineers from Sarangani Energy Corp. (SEC) for lending their skills and talents to help prepare Shuttle Elementary School for its mostly indigenous pupils.
“I can’t help but cry because I know the true value of education and the importance of the support of people in the community towards it,” said Mama, who herself just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in office administration from Holy Trinity College in General Santos last March.
“I know it might be too late, because I am bit older now and I have two daughters on my own. But I understand how important formal education is, especially for members of the IP community because I too am a member of the community,” she pointed out.
More than 20 engineers from SEC lent their time and professional skills to help different faculty, staff, parent-teachers associations and students in different schools in General Santos City prepare for the school opening.
This year’s school visit is part of the Brigada Eskwela Plus program of the Department of Education and major stakeholders like the SEC, Alsons Power Group and the Conrado and Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation Inc. (CLAFI).
Electrical maintenance supervisor Joel Paramo of SEC, the designated team leader, said they make annual rounds of schools that have been adopted and supported by SEC.
“We make sure that all the electrical and structural needs of the students in their schools are taken care of and we help in inspecting and making recommendations for projects of the schools and their PTA organizations,” he added.
Domingo Non, principal of Shuttle Elementary School, also expressed his gratitude to the SEC Engineers who recommended some rewiring, adding lights for kindergarten classrooms and advising how to improve the design for the feeding center, which SEC also funded.
“I am very thankful for the attention and professional help they gave. It was very enlightening, We know that normal professional consultations like this normally cost a lot,” Non said.
In nearby Barangay Sinawal, school head Reagan Paraguas of Lozano Elementary School showed the SEC group of engineers the new improvements in their school kitchen, which were also funded by SEC.
Early this year, SEC turned over to Lozano Elementary School a new feeding center equipped with chairs and tables to facilitate the feeding program funded by the national government for children.
During the turnover ceremony, volunteer cooks composed mostly of parents asked if SEC could add a kitchen to the feeding center. SEC granted the request, hastening the construction of the facility.
“We can’t thank SEC enough for the support they give to our far-flung schools. Indeed, it is a blessing that they believe and practice the African proverb that ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’” Herven Allado of the regional DepEd said.