Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Eight LRCs Turned Over in Cebu

This December, the turnover ceremonies of the first eight out of the 22 LRCs committed by PLDT to the Motolite-PBSP Balik Baterya Program were graced by PLDT Senior Manager for Community Relations Ms Evelyn del Rosario.

Re-posting an article from www.pbspvro.blogspot.com. :)

More books beyond the mountains and seas
PLDT turns over 2860 books to 8134 pupils
through the Motolite-PBSP Balik-Baterya Program

In a school nestled within a mountainous barangay where fog already reaches the ground, a little girl dreams.

Ehlna Heroela, 12 years old and a grade six pupil of Gaas Elementary School, longs of becoming an English teacher in her own barangay so they can all speak the language that will grant them jobs and make their futures bright. She also knows that in order to reach this dream, she has to read as many books as she can to be able to speak and teach English fluently.

But books other than the textbooks she is sharing with her classmate are a novelty in Gaas. The books are sold kilometers away from her place. Her family cannot afford the books or the fare to get there.

That was why when Evelyn del Rosario, PLDT Community Relations Senior Manager, ushered her and her classmates in one of the rooms in her school, she never expected to be already stepping inside a mini-library with books she can touch and read, bringing her to a step closer to her dreams.

“Karon pa ko sukad nakakita og ing-ani kadaghan na mga libro para namo. Nalipay mi na naa mi aning mga libroha kay naa na mi mabasa-basa ug daghan na pud mi makat-unan,” she said. (“It was my first time to see those many storybooks for us. We’re happy to have these books we can read and learn from.”)

Like Ehlna Heroela, 8,134 pupils in the Visayas will be able to read more books and learn new things from the additional learning materials given to them by PLDT with the help of Oriental and Motolite Marketing Corporation and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) through the Motolite-PBSP Balik-Baterya Program.

Launched in 2006, the program aims to achieve two results: protect the environment by properly disposing and recycling of used lead acid batteries (ULABs) which may potentially poison the soil; and improve the learning of pupils through the proceeds of the ULABs donated with the provision of books, training of teachers and holding of remedial reading camps.

ULABs donated by PLDT were bought by Oriental and Motolite Marketing Corporation at a higher price and used to fund the establishment of Learning Resource Centers (LRCs), which take the form of mini-libraries that include a table, several chairs and a bookshelf filled with books and supplementary instructional materials on Math, Science, English, Filipino, Social Studies and Environment Education.

Each Learning Resource Center is worth PhP 40,000.00, which needed approximately 170 ULABs to generate such amount.

“We at PLDT believe that education is the greatest equalizer. When you are educated, you can go far, you can sit with people and discuss things. You have fed your mind. That is why our heart is close to education, on how to enhance the learning of our children especially in the far-flung areas of the country,” del Rosario stressed.

Bridging gaps made by the education low. The latest National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) report states that the Philippines is one of the lowest performing countries in terms of education. This is attributed to the low competencies of schools in improving the learning of their children due to the lack of libraries, books and other instructional materials, and training of new skill sets among teachers.

In schools located within remote coastal and mountain barangays, the situation is even worse.

In Pangan-an Elementary School, located in an islet that takes 30 minutes to an hour to get to by pump boat, teachers have a hard time explaining to their pupils what an encyclopedia is because they could not show them an example of it.

“Sometimes we have to wait for months before receiving the textbooks for our pupils. Even if we want to buy more books, we still could not afford them. We rarely receive assistance from other groups because most of them are afraid to cross the seas to get here,” said Marilou Pacilan, principal of Pangan-an Elementary School.

But through the ULABs donated by PLDT, which generated PhP 880,000.00, the company was able to help 22 schools in the remote areas of the Visayas—eight in Cebu, three in Iloilo, six in Bohol and five in Samar.

“Pupils and students from the cities have more access to learning and education. The very reason why PLDT, Motolite and PBSP chose these places is because these are very remote areas and have least access to learning materials,” del Rosario added.

This December, PLDT was able to turn over eight LRCs to schools in Cebu. It is set to turn over the remaining LRCs to the other schools by next year from January to March.

“With these materials, we know that they will enhance the learning skills of our children. We will make sure that these books will really be used by children and not just get stored in any space,” Gaas Elementary School principal Vivian Restauro said.

PBSP hopes that by making use of the LRCs, the schools will have a lesser number dropouts and enhance their learning competencies as expressed in their mean percentage scores.

“With this partnership, we will be able to fire the children up to learn more, to learn better and to soar to greater heights in education,” del Rosario added.

Corporate social responsibility. For PLDT, the Motolite-PBSP Balik-Baterya Program is not just another education initiative—it is the company's commitment to provide more sustainable projects as its expression of corporate social responsibility.

“We will carry the goodness of PLDT, Motolite and PBSP and we hope that other corporations will do the same. We only hope that the corporate social responsibility imbibed by these groups will inspire other corporations so more schools will also benefit from this kind of commitment,” said Aliena Quimque, principal of Cabancalan I Elementary School.

“What makes this project special is that the funds used for the LRCs do not come from fresh monies—they do not directly come from the income of the companies. These funds all came from the used batteries donated by companies, which are then bought by Motolite so they would be properly disposed and recycled,” PBSP Senior Program Manager Olive Jabido stated.

PLDT makes sure that in the following years more ULABs will be donated for the Balik-Baterya Program so that more children, even separated by mountains and seas, can freely dream their dreams.