With the yearly increase in the number of students in the country, the public schools face the problem of classroom shortage and poor learning conditions for students. Teachers oftentimes hold classes in basketball courts or under the shade of trees within the school compound. Old and dilapidated classrooms and small storage rooms are also being used by the schools to accommodate shifting classes with over 50 students per class.
To help address the problem on the shortage of classrooms in Bacolod City and Silay City, Security Bank Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of Security Bank Corporation, donated sixteen (16) classrooms for three (3) public schools in Bacolod City and Silay City.
“We saw how difficult the learning conditions are in the public schools, so we decided to help build new classrooms for needy public schools. By building new learning facilities, we leave behind a legacy that will benefit many students for many years.”, Security Bank Foundation Chairman Rafael F. Simpao, Jr. explains.
With Security Bank Foundation’s donation of new classrooms in Bacolod City and Silay City, the schools will have more classrooms conducive for learning for their students, class sizes will be reduced to below 50 students per class, shifting classes will be minimized and the number of class hours will be longer.
Twelve (12) classrooms for Antonio L. Jayme Elementary School and Emiliano S. Lizares National High School were inaugurated and formally turned over in the morning of June 10, 2015. SBFI Chairman Rafael F. Simpao, Jr. and Br. Manuel Pajarillo FSC, President of University of St. La Salle, together with Ms. Marivic Mercado of De La Salle Philippines, Mrs. Josefa Puentavella representing Hon. Monico S. Puentevella, Hon. Vice Mayor Greg Gasataya, OIC of the Office of the Regional Director of DepEd Negros Occidental Ms. Gemma Ledesma and Division Superintendent Ms. Cynthia Demavivas of DepEd Bacolod City led the ceremonial ribbon cutting at each of the public school beneficiaries.
Another four (4) classrooms for Silay South Elementary School in Silay City, on the other hand, was inaugurated in the afternoon of the same day. The ribbon cutting ceremony was also led by SBFI Chairman Rafael F. Simpao, Jr. and Br. Manuel Pajarillo FSC, President of University of St. La Salle, together with the Hon. Jose L. Montelibano, Hon. Vice Mayor Mark Andrew Arthur Golez and Division Superintendent Dr. Neri Anne Alibuyog of DepEd Silay City.
Also present to witness the inaugurations were representatives from University of St. La Salle, Security Bank Foundation Trustee / Corporate Secretary Melissa R. Aquino, Security Land President Jose Ma. Montinola, Security Bank Executive Vice President Ma. Cristina Tingson, Senior Vice President and VisMin Region Head Jason Ang and Area Head for Eastern / Western Visayas Mr. Proceso Berino and Bacolod-Rizal Branch Manager Elsie Cabaluna with clients. Representatives from the City Governments and DepEd Division Offices of Bacolod City and Silay City also graced the events together with the teachers, parents and students of the three (3) public school beneficiaries.
The donation of sixteen (16) classrooms to the three (3) public school beneficiaries in Bacolod City and Silay City is part of the Foundation’s “Build a School, Build a Nation: The Classrooms Project”.
The “Build a School, Build a Nation: The Classrooms Project” is a partnership for the construction of Public School Classrooms of Security Bank Foundation in partnership De La Salle Philippines, Inc. For this collaboration, Security Bank Foundation would provide financing for the construction of the classrooms, while De La Salle Philippines, through its La Salle Schools, will design programs that will help improve the academic performance of students in public schools. The other major partners include the Department of Education, who is responsible for providing the classroom furniture and the respective Local Government Units, whose responsibility will be the provision for the land where the classrooms will be constructed, the facilitation of construction permits and monitoring of the construction projects.
Since 2011, Security Bank Foundation has provided funding for the construction of two hundred forty-one (241) classrooms, inclusive of forty-two (42) kindergarten classrooms, one hundred twenty-three (123) classrooms for elementary students and seventy-six (76) classrooms for high students in fifty-six (56) public schools in thirty-six (36) cities and municipalities nationwide. These two hundred forty-one (241) classrooms will benefit 20,000-24,000 public school students every school year.
Mr. Simpao adds, “We never thought that we can achieve and even exceed our expectation of building our initial target of sixty (60) classrooms in only 3 years, but by the grace of God, we were able to do it and even exceeded our target! However, more work still needs to be done. As long as the Security Bank Family is doing well, we will continue to help build and donate more classrooms for the public schools in the country”.
“In behalf of the Department of Education Region 6, I would like to express my gratitude to Security Bank Foundation for the donation of school buildings in Divisions and schools where they are needed. Of all the resources in the Department of Education, the hardest to secure is the school building because it costs millions. We are grateful to have generous partners like Security Bank Foundation who looks at the needs of the public schools. For years we have been experiencing classrooms shortage and partners like Security Bank Foundation are looked at as blessings by the entire Department of Education.
Saying thank you is not enough. In turnover ceremonies like this, I could not help but remember what an old man once told me in the past. He said that if you want your fortune to be multiplied, you give to the needy. But, if you want your fortune to be magnified, you give to the schools. It is true because your little fortune donated the schools will be magnified in terms of the successes of the students in the school system. (Saying) ‘thank you’ is our prayer that God will continue to shower His blessings upon you so that you will continue your efforts in extending (support) to the schools where the classrooms are needed”, shares Ms. Gemma Ledesma, the OIC of the Office of the Regional Director of DepEd Negros Occidental, during the inauguration of the 2 storey, 6 classrooms school building donation of Security Bank Foundation for Antonio A. Jayme Elementary School in Bacolod City.
In response to the Government’s call for support for the new K+12 Education Program of the Department of Education, Security Bank Foundation’s Classrooms Project is committed to build more classrooms for public schools nationwide to help reduce the gap of over 40,000 classrooms shortage in the country.