Earlier this year, Philippines Norway Business Council’s CSR Working Group Head Ozone Azanza met with the key people behind “Klasrum ng Pagasa” to hatch a plan on how PNBC may be able to extend support to the noble aspiration of building a 3-classroom facility for the Balabac National High School Annex in the remote barangay of Indalawan in the southern tip of Palawan. Indalawan, Balabac could easily be described as a community caught between a rock and a hard place. It takes more than 10 hours by land to get there from Puerto Princesa City, and the travel is not for the faint-hearted. In some locations, beaten tracks purport to be part of the long and unsteady winding road.
Atty. Dixie Dugan and Atty. Angelo Valencia, both hardcore diving and trekking aficionados, are two of the key people behind the project. They were pooling funds from their own pockets and from friends and corporate partners to bring long-term, education-based change to Balabac and its people. They described that the community in Indalawan had a shack for a classroom, and a volunteer couple for teachers. If the group succeeds in building a new facility, the Department of Education would be duty-bound to send more teachers to the area, allowing the school to take in more students locally, rather than have the children walk a few kilometers to the next high school that can accommodate them.
This being aligned with the CSR theme of PNBC, the Board decided to take part.
The PNBC donated about Php100,000 worth of construction materials purchased directly from a hardware store in Puerto Princesa City. By and large, PNBC paid for the roof and ceiling of the classroom structure, while other donors purchased cement, aggregates and other structural materials. Volunteer soldiers from the Philippine Marines provided engineering services and labor, while the locals also provided labor and kitchen support. Other donors provided sacks of rice and other food supply to feed the work force for three months. Key support was also provided by the Philippine Navy through sea and air transport for people and construction materials when found necessary.
The new school facility was inaugurated last August 29, 2015 and was attended by officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), government officials and the people behind Klasrum ng Pagasa (who call their dive group, “Naughty Loose” Divers (yes, a wordplay of Nautilus, Captain Nemo’s Sword of the Ocean).
The PNBC will invite Atty. Dixie Dugan and Atty. Angelo Valencia to tell us more about the Klasrum ng Pagasa advocacy during our CSR-themed Christmas Luncheon in December. In the meantime, should your companies be interested in supporting other classroom projects for the group, you may contact the PNBC CSR Working Group through Ozone Azanza (firstname.lastname@example.org).