Four lucky public schools in far-flung Iloilo areas benefitted from a recent Brigada Eskwela project undertaken by Ayala employees. The project, which was called Brigadang Ayala in reference to the proponents – Ayala Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Ayala Foundation and Ayala Land – as well as the volunteer participants, which came from various Ayala Group subsidiaries and the Coop, saw various donations worth P1.83 million, including school kits, toy libraries and equipment, being turned over to benefit a total of 1,396 grade school and preschool pupils and children.
The four schools are the Tanza Elementary School in Tanza, Estancia, Iloilo, and the San Fernando Elementary School, Alipata Elementary School and Buaya Elementary School in Sicogon Island. Some 42 volunteers, including 29 from the Ayala Coop and the rest from Ayala Land, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Globe Telecom, Integrated Microelectronics Inc., Manila Water and Affinity Express, turned out to participate in the project.
The volunteers participated in the various activities, including the refurbishing of the said schools to prepare them for the opening of the school year, the distribution of school kits, the turnover of two toy libraries to the Tanza and San Fernando schools, the conduct of the L.E.T.S. (Learning English Through Stories) Read Program, and the turnover of equipment like laptop, projector, wide screen, sound system, generator set, electric fans and other accessories as well as Brigada materials like flags, medical kits and raincoats.
The volunteers included Norie Lynn Dimaymay of Affinity Express, Jasper Alfonso, Andrea Santiago and Ellen Nemenzo of ALI, Claribel Marquez and Linda Bautista (BPI), Renee Acebuche and Mona Angelique Perez (Globe), Ana Sait and Ralph Micky Batonero (IMI), Jenee May Sales and Helerie Anne Ranillo (Manila Water), and Delia Afunggol, a committee member.
The Coop volunteers, meanwhile, were led by Ayala Coop General Manager Dina Orosa and Chief Finance Officer Jenny Cura, and also included Nyra Abais, Mel Ryan Ani, Francesca Denice Azanza, Arnel Balmes, Chadrina Maris Briz, Jhona Contillo, Frances Joy de Asis, Nelson Dini-Ay, Conrad Gasmin, Marlon Guzman, Jenifer Luyun, Gemma Magalona, Jane Kenneth Manahan, Jonila Margallo, Emily Montino, Rustom Ortiz, Norayda Poot, Sarah Razonable, Maria Cazemer Receno, Jonathan Rojo, Rowenalyn Talampas, Janice Qyinn Tolentino, Mispah Grace Villacarlos, Elinor Abellare, Olivia Ablaza, Mary Grace Bando, and Amadeo Vicente Jr.
“The Ayala Group would like to give back to the communities where it has presence,” Coop GM Dina Orosa said as she reaffirmed her own group’s commitment to the uplift of marginalized sectors of society particularly in the field of education. “This is why we keep reaching out to these communities, even to far-flung areas like Sicogon Island.”
Dino Rey Abellanosa, senior manager and the Visayas-Mindanao lead of Ayala Foundation, also expressed the same commitment to the lesser sectors of society, saying that the Brigadang Ayala is another demonstration of the foundation’s firm resolve to help uplift the lives especially of children and the country’s young.
Some 612 school kits were distributed in Tanza, 214 were donated in Alipata, 182 in San Fernando and 301 in Buaya, with ALI adding 87 more kits to the total. Some P767,800 was spent for the school kits alone while a total of P600,000 went to the construction of the two toy libraries and implementation of the L.E.T.S. Read Program in Tanza and San Fernando, where it would be conducted over a six-month period with the objective of improving the English literacy of the school children there.
The Brigada Eskwela, after which Brigadang Ayala took off, is actually a national program developed by the Department of Education as an activity in support of the opening of classes every year. The program also seeks to encourage parents, teachers and other members of the local community to volunteer material and non-material resources and services in cleaning classrooms and school premises. This covers doing minor repairs on desks, walls and other parts of the classroom to provide an atmosphere conducive to learning.
The program was launched in 2003 in an effort to ensure that public school students continue to have classrooms and a school environment as they gain primary and secondary education.