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Makeshift classroom turned over for students in IP village

The 89th Infantry Battalion turned over a makeshift building for the Merol-o Elementary School in Barangay Tapak, Paquibato District last Jan. 23, Thursday.

Lt. Col. Silas Trasmontero, 89th IB commander, led the turnover, along with Col. Nolasco Mempin, commander of 1003rd Brigade, Davao City Peace 911 headed by Mr. Roger Baay, Rodrigo C. Caral, head teacher of Mangani Elementary School and other teachers of different elementary schools of Paquibato, sitio and tribal leaders, and residents of Sitio Merol-o.

Trasmontero emphasized the importance of providing access to quality education to children, especially in far-flung barangays because this will thwart attempts by communist rebels to recruit the indigenous people.

In his message, Mempin also recognized the efforts of the battalion for the construction of the IP school.

Baay reiterated the three-point advice of Mayor Sara Duterte, as he told students to “obey your parents, study diligently, and don’t marry at a very young age.”

Merol-o Elementary School has two makeshift classrooms made of cogon and wood slabs when it formally opened last year. The 89th IB initiated the fund-raising campaign to construct a classroom. One of the initiatives was a marksmanship competition on Sept. 21, 2019.

The battalion commander said this project was made possible through the Filipino’s bayanihan spirit. The residents provided the manpower, the Peace 911 donated chairs, the Department of Education and the Department of Social Welfare and Development also facilitated the cash-for-work initiative.

“This is a clear manifestation of how the EO 70 or the whole of nation approach works. Through the convergence of various government agencies and private sectors, basic services can be availed easily by the IP communities in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas,” he said.

“The new makeshift school is now open to provide instruction, as well as motivation to help nurture the IP children and their secured future,” he added.

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