TACLOBAN CITY-The sun was out unlike in the previous days and teachers were busy with the preparations for the turnover of a one-unit, four classrooms school building donated by Ambassador Alfredo Yao of the Philippine Business Bank (PBB).

At the far end of the campus, students were playing while awaiting for their visitors for the school building turnover on Monday.
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Regie Macalla, 10, walks two kilometers everyday to reach his school at Lucio Vivero Memorial School in New Kawayan village this city.

But he said this school gives him hope that life will be better. He has eight siblings and his father is a fisherman. He said he will study harder to give a better life for his family.

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“This school is very far from home, I walked two kilometers everyday to and from school, but I am happy they accepted me here. The previous school where I studied is very near our house, but we are no longer there because of the super typhoon,” Regie said.

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Their family used to live in Fisherman’s village in San Jose district in Tacloban. Most of the villages in San Jose were flattened by super typhoon Yolanda. His family was relocated in Kapuso Village, of the GMA Kapuso Foundation.

Macalla said he is happy the school has new classrooms, far from the damaged classrooms in his previous school at the Fisherman’s Village.

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“The Operation Barrio School Project of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII), started in the 1960’s,” said Joseph Redulla, director of the welfare committee of the chamber, during the short program after the ceremonial ribbon cutting.

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“With this project, we have 50 years in committing to uplift the education in the country. This is a collaboration of the local government unit, the school officials and our donors. We want children to be in school and give them hope for a better future.”

Jack Uy, president of the Tacloban FFCCCII, thanked the school building donor represented by Marjorie Yu Restor, manager of PBB Tacloban Branch, and the many donors that have collaborated with the FFCCCII.

He said nearly 120 classrooms have been constructed in Tacloban, Leyte and Samar by the FFCCCII in the aftermath of Yolanda. The chamber has also repaired hundreds of school buildings that were damaged by the storm.

The FFCCCII has a role in the fast recovery of the education sector in the Eastern Visayas region, after Yolanda has decimated the central Philippines.

Tacloban City Councilor Cristina G. Romualdez encouraged the children to study hard, appreciate the new learning facility and treasure the building. This is for you and the coming generation.

“This is not just a building. This stands for hope and the resilience of the people of Tacloban. Every classroom that is constructed in the city after the storm, stands for hope, dreams and inspiration to all of us,” said Tacloban Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin.

Information Officer Irene Go of the Department of Education representing Schools Superintendent Gregorio Diaz said that the DepEd is grateful to the FFCCCII and its donors.

She said, the school building will ease the learning space of the students as the enrolment has increased from 153 to 730 students. This is the first school building donated to the school and we are proud of it.

The classrooms are equipped with one comfort room each and two black boards.

The others who graced the activity were Lynna de Guzman school principal, Ricky Chua, TFCCCI contractor, and from FFCCCII Manila were Alfredo Lim and Danny So Ping Hong, Carlos Legaspi and Jemar Pascual.

BY VICKY C. ARNAIZ/PNA

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