CALAMBA CITY, Laguna, Dec. 11 (PNA) — The City Government of Calamba represented by Vice Mayor Roseller ‘Ross’ Rizal and PhilSeven Foundation Inc. represented by Jose Victor P. Paterno, president, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Learning on Wheels Project: Mobile Classroom – also named as “Gulong ng Karunungan: Balik Aral Na Kabataan”- on Thursday (Dec. 10) at the Lobby, Main Entrance City Hall here.
Celina Manabat, head, City Social Welfare Department, Dr. Adelino Labro M.D., head, City Health Office and Dr. Eugenia Gorgon Ph.D., superintendent, City School Division of the Department of Education (DepEd).
Vice Mayor Rizal in his message said that the city “attracts migrants because of the thriving industries leading to the increase of its population including those living in poverty…and children who chose to live in the streets”.
”The city government and the city council support the street children program of the national government including this ‘Gulong ng Karunungan-Balik Aral na Kabataan’ Project which is also called Learning on Wheels –Mobile Education that will benefit street children in Barangays (villages) Uno and Dos not only in terms of basic education but directly benefit on medical check-up, supplemental feeding, and hygiene kits,” he added.
Vice Mayor Rizal reported that the City Council approved on November 30, 2015 a resolution authorizing the City Mayor to formalize the partnership with PhilSeven Foundation Inc. for the implementation of Education Program for street children which is an affirmation of the ingenuity of the council for a partnership between and among stakeholders.
Likewise, Jose Victor P. Paterno, president, PhilSeven Foundation, Inc. expressed the belief of the foundation in educating the youth and equipping them to move out from poverty while at the same time for the foundation to reach out to communities served by their stores (7-Eleven).
”PhilSeven Foundation and 7-Eleven Philippines believe in the importance of education for the Filipino youth, in order for them to progress and equip themselves and their families to move out of poverty and succeed in life,” Paterno said.
”In 2007, 7-Eleven Philippines’ 25th Anniversary, PhilSeven Foundation was established to help and reach out to more and more communities served by our stores,” he added.
Marcel Ramonel, administrative head, PhilSeven Foundation, said that Calamba City has been chosen for this project in return for the patronage of the city folks where twenty 7-Eleven stores, the most number in Laguna province, out of the 1, 500 stores in the country are found in the city since the opening of the first branch on July 24, 1995.
Ramonel added that two closed vans containing books, notebooks, television set and other learning materials are components of the program to be utilized by the two villages (Uno and Dos) under the coordination of the City Social Service Department and the DepEd’s Alternative Learning System (ALS).
She added that the program included the health and nutrition aspects where the foundation provides toiletries, soaps, toothbrushes and toothpastes, food supplies for feeding, medical check-up of street children and Customized Assistive Device (customized wheel chair) for children with disabilities.
Celina Manabat, head, City Social Welfare Development Office, said that the beneficiaries of the project are street children (ages seventeen and below) belonging to the depressed communities and coming from poor or displaced families especially in the villages Uno and Dos.
”This will be implemented by the Family and Community Welfare Division of the City Social Service and Youth Development Office (CSSYDO) supervised by an assigned social worker who is also responsible in organizing the street children. The ALS specialist from the DepEd shall be in-charged in educating the children ages 13-17 while a daycare worker will handle those 12 years old and below,” Manabat said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Eugonia Gorgon, DepEd superintendent, welcomed the project as a way to achieve the goal of DepEd to “bring back those out of school youth including street children in the mainstream formal education.”
Luisito Samson, 18, former street child, stopped attending school four years ago for lack of financial support, has now finished ALS and hopes to enroll in college and take up Information Technology while Jules Narito, 17, stopped school and became a “jeepney barker” before joining ALS and wanted to take tech-voc courses after passing the validation test. Both were part of the ALS graduates and other street children organized by the CSSYDO who provided a special dance number during the ceremony.
Moreover, six Customized Assistive Devices (customized wheelchair) were turned over to their recipients during the ceremony and the blessings of the two closed-vans of “Gulong ng Karunungan-Balik Aral Na Kabataan” project administered by Re. Fr. Leandro Bariring, Jr. of the Saint Vincent Ferrer Parish, Real Village. (PNA)