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 the country, Security Bank Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of Security Bank Corporation, built and donated twelve (12) classrooms for two (2) public schools in Ormoc City, and another twelve (12) classrooms for two (2) public schools in Tacloban City in the Province of Leyte.
“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 Ormoc City and Tacloban 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 New Ormoc City National High School and Ipil Central School in Ormoc City were inaugurated and formally turned over in the morning of July 9, 2015. SBFI Chairman Rafael F. Simpao, Jr., Ateneo Center for Educational Excellence (ACED) Executive Director Ms. Carmela Oracion, together with the Hon. Mayor Edward Codilla, the Hon. Leo Carmelo Locsin of Ormoc City and Superintendent Mariza Magan of DepEd Division of Ormoc City led ceremonial ribbon cutting of the classrooms donation.
Another twelve (12) classrooms for Leyte National High School and San Jose Central School in Tacloban City, on the other hand, were inaugurated in the afternoon of the same day. The ribbon cutting ceremony was also led by SBFI Chairman Rafael F. Simpao, Jr., Ateneo Center for Educational Excellence (ACED) Executive Director Ms. Carmela Oracion, the Hon. Councilor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez, the Hon. Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin of Tacloban City and Superintendent Dr. Gorgonio Diaz of DepEd Division of Tacloban City.
Also present to witness the inaugurations was Security Bank Foundation Trustee / Corporate Secretary Melissa R. Aquino and Program Manager Mel Cordova, Area Head of Security Bank Eastern and Western Visayas Mr. Proceso Berino, Security Bank Tacloban Branch Business Manager Bonifacio Tordillo, Security Bank Ormoc Branch Business Manager Katherina Abuel and clients of both Security Bank Tacloban and Ormoc branches.
Representatives from the City Governments and DepEd Division Offices of Ormoc City and Tacloban City also graced the events together with the teachers, parents and students of the four (4) public school beneficiaries.
The donation of twenty-four (24) classrooms to the four (4) public school beneficiaries in Ormoc City and Tacloban 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 Ateneo de Manila University. For this collaboration, Security Bank Foundation would provide financing for the construction of the classrooms, while Ateneo de Manila University, through its Ateneo Center for Educational Development (ACED), 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-eight (38) 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 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.