HBI Activities

Better Schools in the La Union Province: The Rural Reconstruction Project (Phase 2)

The Contract Signing for the Eight School Beneficiaries
The Contract Signing for the Eight School Beneficiaries

It has been years  since Typhoon Ondoy (international name Ketsana) and Typhoon Pepeng (Parma) brought devastation, agony and loss to the Philippines. Right after the typhoon, the Haligi ng Bata, Incorporated, through the support of their partners-in-service, provided immediate help to affected communities through the provision of relief goods, house-repairs and livelihood programs – all of these have and continues to help the typhoon victims get back on their feet and live productive and meaningful lives.

But the typhoons not only victimized houses – numerous schools were also affected. Classroom buildings, roofs, equipments and materials also fell play to the typhoons’ strong winds & flooding. Aside from this, schools that were used as evacuation centers reported that most of their equipments (lavatories, chairs & desks, classroom materials, books & workbooks) were damaged because of negligence & carelessness on the part of some evacuees.

Without a doubt, schools are considered as an integral part of any community for they serve as the second home of the children. With this in mind, HBI through the support of their trusted partner-in-service, CO-OPERAID Switzerland and the Swiss Solidarity Foundation, have formally began implementing the Rural Reconstruction Project for Typhoon-Affected Schools in La Union. The project’s general aim is very simple – reconstruct typhoon-affected schools so that their schooling children would have better, safer and more equipped second homes.

On September 1, 2010, HBI officially began the Rural Reconstruction Project through a Contract Signing with the principals of the target schools/project areas. In total, 8 public elementary schools from the hinterlands of Bangar and Luna, La Union are recipients of the project.

The 8 schools aided by the reconstruction project are the Rissing Elementary School, Sinapangan Elementary School and the Luzong Sur Elementary School – all in Bangar, La Union. Rounding up the list is the Busel-Busel Elementary School, Bungro-Sucoc Integrated School, Ayaoan Elementary School, Pila Elementary School & Tallaoen Elementary School – all in Luna, La Union.These schools were all badly affected by Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng resulting to heavily damaged classroom walls, roofs, windows and equipments. Looking at some of the photos of the mentioned schools, it is indeed hard to imagine that these classrooms are conducive to learning and safe to house schooling children.

The principals of the 8 school-beneficiaries of the Rural Reconstruction Project
The principals of the 8 school-beneficiaries of the Rural Reconstruction Project

The Rural Reconstruction Project aims to ensure that these schools will become a suitable second home to elementary school students. In a nutshell, the reconstruction project is an Agency-Driven Reconstruction in-Situ (ADRIS) approach wherein a non-government organization hires a construction company to reconstruct & rehabilitate damaged schools in their pre-disaster location. Aside from providing the schools with reconstructed school buildings, the project will also provide educational materials and technical resources on basic building maintenanc, specifically along the lines of building-wiring, flood prevention and termite-infestation.

As mentioned earlier, the project became official on September 1, 2010 through a Contract Signing. Present in this momentous event is the HBI team led by its Executive Director & Chairman of the Board, the Department of Education represented by Region 1 Administrative Director Mrs. Dominga Lim, the partner construction firm – the Alberto S. Sison Construction Company, and the 8 principals from the 8 schools. These 8 principals are:

  1. Mr. Romeo Ancheta  – Principal, Bungro-Sucoc Integrated School, Luna, La Union
  2. Mr. Fernando Apolinar –  Principal, Sinapangan Elementary School, Bangar, La Union
  3. Mrs. Stela Balala – Head Teacher, Ayaoan Elementary School, Luna, La Union
  4. Mrs. Editha Carbajal – Principal, Busel-Busel Elementary School, , Luna, La Union
  5. Mrs. Josephine Jacobe – Head Teacher, Rissing Elementary School, Bangar, La Union
  6. Mr. Victorino Leal – Principal, Pila Elementary School, , Luna, La Union
  7. Mr. Fernando Monis – Head Teacher, Luzong Sur Elementary School, Bangar, La Union
  8. Mr. Henry Palma – Principal, Tallaoen Elementary School, Luna, La Union
Once the contracts were signed, HBI and the Project Contractor started all reconstruction works in the eight schools. By January 2011, all the schools’ identified typhoon-damaged facilities have been completely rebuilt.
The project did not end once reconstruction works were finished. Since HBI believes that sustainability is the key to ensure that the reconstructed facilities would be used for many years to come by many students, new school materials and equipments were provided to the schools. More importantly, HBI with the support of the schools, organized a group of school and community volunteers per school collectively known as the Building Maintenance Committee (BMC). The BMCs were then trained by vocational school teachers along the lines of carpentry, plumbing, building-wiring, electricity, termites-control and disaster management for six months. The BMCs were also provided with seminar materials and tools and repair equipments.
Once all the project activities were implemented, HBI conducted a Community Score Card Evaluation Process with all the stakeholders from the eight school beneficiaries. This was done to establish accountability and to evaluate all project players. The Community Score Card Evaluation Report for the Phase 2 Project will be tackled in another website article.