Can’t afford one, ALista school seeks Congress funds

LAGAWE, IFUGAO – – Verbs, adverbs, nouns, pronouns and conjunctions are all mind boggling and expanding, headache inducing and more or less hard to remember. More so studying and comprehending them inside dimly-lighted and antiquated classrooms.
This is the predicament faced by countless pupils and students of Ifugao in their perseverance to learn even under such unimaginable conditions. One such institution where this prevalent is Potia National High School Annex in Alfonso Lista town.
Schools are man’s creations, a way for laying ground rules for the young, similar to how roads are built to help people on a journey.
Old and dilapidated school buildings serve as a vivid reminder of how serious the problem is in Ifugao these days, marked with the strong call for immediate action.
For Potia National High School, a growing population is another problem. It is for this compelling reason the school has sought the assistance of Ifugao Rep. Solomon Chungalao to cause the allocation of PhP4 million for the construction of a two-story building with four classrooms at its annex.
Board Member Clemente Bongtiwon immediately threw his full support for the project. He filed a resolution along this matter at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Together with school officials, Board Member Bongtiwon also sought the attention of Education Secretary Leonor Briones for appropriation of the much-needed funds for the project.
This move is another eye-catching development in this part of the country in the overall effort to improve the infrastructure of public elementary and high schools.
School mentors here want to respond to the longstanding problem, but they can’t do anything because resources are limited. They are actually so helpless.
Alfonso Lista has 20 barangays. One of these villages is Potia. Potia has farming as the mainstay of its economy. Most villagers are poor. Ifugao State University (IFSU) has a sprawling campus in the barangay. Like IFSU, Potia National High School main and annex sections offer secondary education degrees without tuition.
Older schools often require costly maintenance. This really contributed heavily to the problem of the public school system here and elsewhere.
The training ground of young Ifugao folks is in these public schools. Department of Education (DepEd) officials need to take this problem seriously and begin helping the students to prepare for their future now. DepEd has the biggest allocation in the national budget.
The DepEd’s proposed budget for 2020 is Php525, 884 billion. President Duterte signed recently the Php4.1 trillion national budget law.
It’s time to prioritize the construction of better classrooms, libraries and other related facilities for the learners and teachers.
Meantime, the congestion problem here persists. Many suddenly realized that the move of Board Member Bongtiwon is truly an important development. For the first time in years, many felt hope.
Bongtiwon is chair of the Committee on Education, Arts, Science and Technology. Board Member Agustin Calya-en is the vice chairman. Members are Joselito Guyguyon, Perfecta Dulnuan and Ceasario Cabbigat.
Board Member Bongtiwon got inspiration from his peers in the education sector where he came from prior to entering politics. It is a wonderful opportunity for him to get in touch with them and the key figures at the DepEd.
The initiative of Board Member Bongtiwon was admired for its significance, more than for its contribution to Alfonso Lista- now known as the “education hub” of Ifugao.
In fact, many of his colleagues at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan are totally pleased with the resolution.
“That is why I’m giving attention to the plight of our principals, teachers and pupils, to the impacts of underdevelopment that render our people more vulnerable,” Bongtiwon told the ZigZag Weekly.
Bongtiwon stressed the importance of education in curbing the country’s mounting poverty problem. “Education is the key to having a better future,” he said. The Philippine Statistics Authority reported that in 2014, 25.8 percent, or more than a quarter of Filipinos still live below the poverty line. Everything else is related to poverty relief. Think of the significant number of people who will be lifted out of poverty. Ifugao is one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines.
Still, there is a challenge for Sangguniang Panlalawigan members who find in the education sector the source of faith in the learning process among youngsters to be able to explain more clearly and fervently why the young should experience Education as moving and meaningful, on one hand, and transformative and genuine, on the other.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan should also look seriously into the problem of lack of canteens and libraries in far-flung villages.
The future of the public schools in Ifugao and the education sector hinges on the well-being of those who mold the minds of the young. Most of them are overworked and underpaid.
Seeing that Ifugao is badly affected by numerous problems in the education sector, over the years during his earlier stint at the House of Representatives, Congressman Chungalao endeavored to develop accessible educational facilities as well as youth and student centers.
If the funding request is realized, many should consider the positive impact of finally having modern-day educational facilities in the province.** By Anthony A. Araos

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