The Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association, Inc. (PBGEA), in partnership with the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and Nader & Ebrahim S/O Hassan (NEH) Philippines, Inc through its DANA Foundation, formally inaugurated and turned over a newly constructed three-classroom building to Semong Elementary School at Brgy. Semong, Kapalong, Davao del Norte last March 26, 2012.
The new school building complements the existing buildings in the school to accommodate all its students from Kindergarten to Grade 6.
PBGEA Community Development Chairperson Dondon Jimenez said the classroom-building project, dubbed “TUCP in Mindanao Project” or taking up classroom problems in Mindanao, primarily aims to provide adequate school buildings to afford students with an appropriate learning environment and to address the acute classroom shortage in public schools.
“While our banana industry is focusing on providing and propelling economic development, we also want to contribute and address the social needs of the community,” Jimenez said in his message during the turn over rites.
Besides Semong Elementary School, PBGEA and TUCP also turned over two-classroom building to Elias P. Dacudao Gumalang School of Home Industries at Brgy. Gumalang, Baguio District, Davao City.
Another three-classroom building will be turned over to Datu Paglas in Maguindanao this second quarter of the year.
“This will not be the first and the last. This is just the beginning,” PBGEA Executive Director Stephen Antig, who was also present during the event, said.
According to Antig, education has always been part of PBGEA’s corporate advocacies. They continuously reach out to various places especially to far-flung areas to provide classroom where it is much needed and provide scholarship program to less privileged youngsters.
“We value education very much. Tungod niana, sulod sa sobra 30 ka-tuig, adunay sobra libo ka mga iskolars na ang among napaskwela ug kami magpadayun pa hangtod nabuhi ang sagingan. (Because of that, for more than 30 years, we have sent over a thousand of scholars to school and we will continue serving until the banana industry exists.) We will definitely do everything we can to continue helping community in giving our children the best realms of education,” Antig said.
Likewise, TUCP Representative Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza said they will be planning for more projects for Davao del Norte to bring community support services towards improving people’s lives and help alleviate poverty through education.
“Importante dyud ang edukasyon. Mao ni ang pundasyon sa tanan (Education is very important. This is the foundation of everything.),” he added.
Davao del Norte Vice Governor Victorio R. Suaybaguio, Jr. extended his warmest appreciation to the stakeholders saying “We are very grateful that we have private groups who are always ready to give assistance to our schools to improve and raise the quality of education.”
The turnover ceremony also gained the support of Kapalong Mayor Edgardo Timbol, NEH Philippines, Inc. Sales and Marketing Manager Jennifer Karla Briones, DepEd Davao del Norte Representatives Cristy C. Epe and Engr. Lolita Andanon, Jovy Villar, who represented Davao del Norte Gov. Rodolfo P. del Rosario, Semong Brgy. Captain Joevin Doriman, and the barangay council of Semong.