Petron fuels hope with village school

Gampung went on to thank various donors – the Conrado Alcantara Foundation, Inc. (CAFI), Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and the USAID – "on behalf of my classmates."

"We are deeply indebted. If not for them, none of these would be possible and also to Petron who gave us three classrooms," Gampung added. "That will surely arouse the interest of the pupils and motivate us to study harder."

It was a blissful Monday (November 19) for Hadji Musa Elementary School in barangay Kapatan and the whole community.

The day was the inauguration of the school building and tree planting activity along the gullies of the school grounds.

With the United States Assistance for International Development (USAID)-Education Quality and Access for Learning and Livelihood Skills (EQUALLS), local government units and the private sector, the school heralds a "fuel of hope" for Sarangani.

"Today we have planted the trees for success," Governor Miguel Dominguez said.

The governor assured "all our partners that we in the community will ensure that the seeds planted today will bear fruits of opportunities that will ensure the children of this community which will eventually become the key out of poverty." 

For his part, Nicasio Alcantara, Petron Corporation Chair and Chief executive Officer, said: "We hope that our contributions will inspire the community to work together in support of education."

Alcantara reaffirmed the company's commitment to go beyond school buildings and scholarship programs by helping to enhance the capability of Mindanao educators to teach English, Math and Science.

This commitment for Mindanao was echoed by Elzadia Washington, USAID deputy mission director.

"I'd like to reiterate our commitment. Our commitment of peace in the Mindanao region, our commitment to prosperity, and our commitment to partnership," Washington said.

She pointed out the USAID administration in Washington had committed to "triple our partnerships with the private sectors and we're looking forward to work with all other institutions including the academe."

USAID's infrastructure program, Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) will continue for the next five years while its educational assistance through EQUALLS will go on for the next four years, according to Washington.

Dulcesimo Alfafara, principal of Hadji Musa Elementary School, said: "I cannot express what is my feeling today since this is just a matter of a dream that has come true."

Petron, which has built 20 schools in Mindanao, also donated a three-classroom building at Glan's Pangyan Elementary School in 2005 as part of its Adopt-a-School program.

Petron's Tulong Aral Project has also made possible for the under privileged children go to school.

The PBSP, CAFI, Habitat for Humanity, Inc., and Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation, Inc., assist Petron in its Adopt-a-School Program. (Sarangani Information Office/RGP)