Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Balik Baterya beneficiary dreams to become teacher

Balik Baterya beneficiary dreams to become teacher
Cebu Daily News
December 15, 2010

A 12-year-old girl from Balamban town in southwest Cebu dreams of becoming an English teacher someday.

Ehlna Heroela, a grade six pupil of Gaas Elementary School in the mountainous barangay of Balamban, said she wanted to teach English in her own barangay so the students can all speak English, a language that will give them an edge to find employment.

She said she has to read many books to be able to fulfill her dream.

Evelyn del Rosario, community relations senior manager of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), ushered her and her classmates in a mini-library in her school.

“Karon pa ko sukad nakakita og ing-ani kadaghan na mga libro. Nalipay mi nga naa mi aning mga libroha kay naa na mi mabasa-basa ug daghan na pud mi makat-unan (This is my first time to see these many storybooks. We’re happy to have these books that we can read and learn from),” Heroela said.

Heroela is among the 8,134 pupils in the Visayas who will benefit from the books and additional learning materials given to them by PLDT with the help of Oriental and Motolite Marketing Corporation and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) through the Motolite-PBSP Balik-Baterya Program.

The used lead acid batteries (ULABs) donated by PLDT were bought by Oriental and Motolite Marketing Corporation at a higher price and the proceeds were used to fund the establishment of learning resource centers (LRCs), which take the form of mini-libraries that include a table, chairs and a bookshelf filled with books and supplementary instructional materials on math, science, English, Filipino, social studies and environment education.

“We at PLDT believe that education is the greatest equalizer. When you are educated, you can go far, sit with people and discuss things. That is why our heart is close to education, enhancing the learning of the children, especially those in the far-flung areas of the country,” del Rosario said.

In Pangan-an Elementary School in an island barangay of Pangan-an in Lapu-Lapu City, teachers have a hard time explaining to their pupils what an encyclopedia is.

“Sometimes we have to wait for months before receiving the textbooks for our pupils. Even if we want to buy more books, we still could not afford them. We rarely receive assistance from other groups because most of them are afraid to cross the seas to get here,” said Marilou Pacilan, prinicipal of Pangan-an Elementary School.

But through the ULABs donated by PLDT, which generated P880,000, the company was able to help 22 schools in the remote areas of the Visayas — eight in Cebu, three in Iloilo, six in Bohol and five in Samar.

This December, PLDT turned over eight LRCs to schools in Cebu. It is set to turn over the remaining LRCs to the other schools in Iloilo, Bohol and Samar next year from January to March.

“We know that these learning materials will enhance the learning of our children. We will make sure that these books will be put into use,” Gaas Elementary School principal Vivian Restauro said.

PBSP hopes that LRCs will lessen the number of dropouts in schools.

“We will carry the goodness of PLDT, Motolite and PBSP and we hope that the corporate social responsibility imbibed by these groups will inspire other corporations to do the same to benefit more schools,” said Aliena Quimque, principal of Cabancalan I Elementary School.

Launched in 2006, the program aims to protect the environment through proper disposal and recycling of ULABs as well as improve the learning of pupils.

“What makes this project special is that the funds used for the LRCs are not taken from the income of the companies, but from used batteries donated by companies, which are then bought by Motolite for proper disposal and recycle,” PBSP Senior Program Manager Olive Jabido said.