LA PAZ, Leyte, Aug. 21 (PNA) — In its commitment as partner in nation-building and help the alleviate the lives of Yolanda (Haiyan) survivors, the Federation of the Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII) continues its Operations Barrio School Program along the Yolanda corridor.
Officers of the federation led by Enrique Chua, board director and chairman welfare committee of FFCCCII and Jack Uy, president of Tacloban Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (TFCCCI), went to Sta. Elena village in La Paz town on Wednesday.
The entire village welcomed the group as they turned-over one unit-two classrooms school building of Cabadiangan Elementary School to the school and the local government unit led by La Paz Mayor Lesmes Lumen.
The school has only three concrete classrooms and one makeshift room for 136 students before this donation said Ma. Theresa E. Torero, school head.
In his message, Enrique Chua said that the school and community should take care of the school building so that aside from the present student populace, it still can be used by the future generation.
According to him, the “Operation: Barrio Schools” is the longest running and biggest private-sector led school building construction program in the Philippines. Its donation has reached more than 5,000 school buildings or over 10,000 classrooms all over the country.
For the last two years after Yolanda tore to pieces this part of the central Philippines on November 8, 2015, FFCCCII has built almost 600 classrooms in the Yolanda hit areas that includes Tacloban, Samar, Leyte, Ilo-ilo, Cebu and Aklan.
“We are very happy we have found the donor of this school building Columbia and Wire Cable Corporation. You should study hard because you are the future leaders of our nation,” Chua said.
Lumen in his message he thanked the donors, the TFCCCI and FFCCCII, whose officers came all the way from Manila, just to witness the turnover.
“La Paz has been a recipient of the generosity of the donors. Last June, we also turned over six classrooms in Luneta elementary school, Luneta village from Ambassador Carlos Chan,” Lumen beamed.
The Chans, manufacturer of Oishi snack chips, has donated a total of 80 classrooms to Leyte and Samar after the typhoon including the island municipality of Homonhon, Eastern Samar.
In the FFCCCII Christmas party last year, they raffled-off school buildings to invited local chief executives with Chinese lineage and Lesmes was one of them.
He narrated that Chua said he should win in the raffle so that more school buildings will be built in his hometown. Unluckily, he didn’t win in the raffle of 40 classrooms.
“Chua comforted me and others who didn’t bring home the bacon, and he said you pray for more generous donors, so that you will have one or two school buildings. La Paz not only get two classrooms, but a total of eight classrooms even before the year ends,” Lumen said.
Cabadiangan elementary school is two kilometers from the town proper. According to the village head Rosalinda Pedere, Cabadiangan is the seat of the original settlers in La Paz when the town was still a village of the first class town of Burauen.
Jack Uy encouraged the students to study hard and make their parents proud. He pointed out that a makeshift classroom with a size of 16 square meters was used by Grade VI students before the building was constructed.
“Now that you are given new classrooms conducive to learning, make sure you study hard and no cutting classes,” he said.
The 49-square meter school building is concrete with GI sheets as roofing but no ceiling with two toilets so that children will also be taught proper personal hygiene and zero defecation in the village.
Other guests include FFCCCII directors Alfredo Lim and Anson G. Tan, project coordinators Carlos Legaspi and Jemar Pascual, TFCCCI treasurer Reynaldo Go, director Ely Mancera, in-house TFCCCI contractor Ricky Chua, village officials and parents of the students. (PNA)
LAP/SQM/VICKY C. ARNAIZ