Ambassador Toshinao Urabe congratulates Mayor Natividad Isabel Magbalon of the Municipality of Milagros, Masbate, and Mr. .Joevanie Bebero, Principal of Talacogon Central Elementary School , Agusan del Sur during the grant contract signing of the “Project for the Construction and Renovation of School Buildings for John Miller and Magsalangi Elementary Schools ” and “The Project for Construction of Six Classrooms for Talacogon Central Elementary School ” at the Embassy of Japan on 18 November 2011. Both ceremonies were witnessed by representatives from the Municipality of Milagros, Talacogon Central Elementary School and the Embassy of Japan.
Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Toshinao Urabe signed two grant contracts for the construction and renovation of school facilities in the Provinces of Masbate and Agusan del Sur with Honorable Mayor Natividad Isabel Magbalon of the Municipality of Milagros and Mr. Joevanie Bebero, Principal of Talacogon Central Elementary School on November 18, 2011.
“ The Project for the Construction and Renovation of School Buildings for John Miller and Magsalangi Elementary Schools ” and “ The Project for Construction of Six Classrooms for Talacogon Central Elementary School ” amounting to combined total of US$211, 401 (approximately Php9.1 million) are funded under the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP). Around 2,000 students from both provinces will benefit from these projects.
Masbate and Agusan del Sur were listed in the top ten poorest provinces in the Philippines during the last decade. In 2009 statistics of the National Statistical and Coordination Board (NSCB), the poverty incidence was 42.5% and 51.2% respectively . Both provinces cannot afford to pay enough attention to basic social services including education.
In the Municipality of Milagros in Masbate, John Miller Elementary School in Barangay Bangad and Magsalangi Elementary School in the coastal barangay of Magsalangi have urgent need of the construction and renovation of classrooms. John Miller Elementary School is using makeshift and dilapidated classrooms to accommodate its growing number of students. On the other hand, Magsalangi Elementary School, established in 1937 and considered to be the oldest school in the Municipality, has classrooms that are already condemnable and thus pose threat to its students.
Through th e grant assistance amounting to US$113,190 (approximately 4.8 million pesos ), four class rooms will be constructed in John Miller Elementary School , and three classrooms will be constructed in Magsalangi Elementary School. The classrooms will also be provided with armchairs, blackboards, teacher's tables and chairs. The Municipal Government of Milagros will also repair two classrooms and five classrooms respectively.
The Talacogon Central Elementary School in the Municipality of Talacogon, Agusan del Sur, was established in 1934 and considered to be the oldest school in the locality. It is the only school in the M unicipality that offers Special Education (SPED) program to poor students with disabilities and special needs. Due to its old structures, the students are forced to hold classes in dilapidated classrooms which are in dire need of repair. Furthermore, the increasing enrolment results in the classroom shortage forcing the students to use non-academic rooms such as a library and a stockroom for their classes.
Through this grant assistance amounting to US$ 98, 211 (approximately 4.3 million pesos ), Talacogon Central Elementary School will construct a new six-classroom building. The classrooms will also be provided with armchairs, blackboards, teacher's tables and chairs.
The Government of Japan, as the top ODA donor for the Philippines, launched the GGP in the Philippines in 1989 for the purpose of reducing poverty and helping various communities engaged in grassroots activities. As of October 2011, 453 grassroots projects funded by GGP – ranging from roughly 1 to 4 million pesos – have been implemented by NGOs, local government units and other non-profit organizations. The total grant for these projects so far amounts to US$20,943,230. Japan believes that this project will strengthen not only friendship between the peoples of Japan and the Philippines but also the existing strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines.