BALABAG, Kidapawan City, March 26 (PNA) — In its bid to continuously support poor communities hosting its transmission lines and facilities in Mindanao, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) donated and turned over a two-classroom building at the Balabag Elementary School here.
“We are glad we have this building, it will help improve education in our village,” chairperson Eduardo Umpan of Barangay Balabag said.
About 80 pupils now in Grade 7 and Grade 8 can now use the modern classroom building, exactly opposite to what they have been using for quite some time – a makeshift and dilapidated structure.
Barangay Balabag is situated at the slope of the country’s highest peak a few kilometers away from the Mt. Apo geothermal plant of the Energy Development Corporation.
With a population of 1,700 individuals, Balabag is yet to have a national high school.
For years, high school students had to walk, sometimes ride “habal-habal” if their pocket allows, two and a half kilometers to reach Mt. Apo National High School in adjacent barangay.
Now called Mt. Apo National High School extension, the two-class room building was constructed with the stakeholder’s hands, according to Dr. Gina Fe Patinio, principal of Balabag Elementary School.
The P3 million worth school edifice was constructed with the local folks, parents included, as workers and completed in just 45 days.
“I am very happy, at least my children will no longer walk for kilometers to reach their school and save money for their allowance,” said Levita Medrano, 47, a parent who has two children in high school.
“It was my long dream to have separate high school here, it’s a dream come true for me and for other parents here,” she said in the vernacular.
Melfrance Capulong of the NGCP corporate affairs office based in Davao City who attended the turnover rites said NGCP, as part of its corporate social responsibility, provides assistance to the village where NGCP transmission lines are located.
Barangay Balabag is hosting five NGCP steel transmission lines.
Lester Jan Ramos, 14, a Grade 8 student, said the new school building will encourage more students to pursue education seriously.
“Ma-inspire kami na mag-aaral kasi bago na ang school building namin (We will be inspired to go to school because we have new building),” Ramos said.
Capulong said NGCP also provides other assistance to schools like books, chairs, among others.
“Our advocacy on education does not only provide books and school supplies but school buildings as well depending on the needs of the recipient community,” she said.
She said NGCP also helps in introducing new teaching system, modernization of classroom set up and improve learning environment.
NGCP also extends other assistance like laptops, computer sets, laboratory facilities to schools recommended by the local government unit officials of communities hosting NGCP lines.
NGCP is a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining and developing the country’s power grid. It transmits high voltage electricity through “power superhighways” that include the interconnected system of transmission lines, towers, substations and related assets.
Aside from requests from LGUs, Capulong explained that NGCP also conducts its own inquiry and see for itself what the education institutions really needs.
Chairman Umpan told NGCP officials that the residents vow to help maintain and protect the transmission lines.“As long as I am the village chair here, your transmission lines are safe from bombers and saboteurs,” Umpan said.
Molly Kister Nalas, president of student government, said the whole student body has vowed to help maintain the school building.
“This is for us, we appreciate the donation and in return we will take care of this and hopefully, NGCP will provide us with more facilities,” Nalas said.
When asked what NGCP expects from the community in return, Capulong said “nothing because we are happy we help the poor but deserving students have quality education.” (PNA)