Bayanihan rebuilds only school in Ayoke Island

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/04 June) — Volunteers from different socio-civic organizations in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur and other parts of Caraga Region as well as local residents worked together to rebuild the only elementary school in Ayoke Island.

The rebuilding work, which ran from May 28 to June 2, enabled the island’s children to use the school’s four classrooms in time for the opening of classes this week.

In an online interview, an elated Vicente Cirilo A. Iriberri, executive director of Cantilan Bank Foundation Inc. which initiated the project said there will be more bayanihan efforts.

Bayanihan means working together for a community project without expecting any reward or payment.

“Basically the event was just the launching project of Bayanihan sa Cantilan, a local version of the hometown campaign of Gawad Kalinga. It is an online and on-ground campaign designed to create an enabling environment where Cantilangnons all over the world can respond concretely to the call to care for their hometown through extending help and support to those in need,” Iriberri said.

Iriberri said they hope that through this campaign people would learn the value of the saying that they are their brother’s keeper.

He said they also held sessions on value formation, financial literacy and waste management through coastal cleanup.

“We are so thankful to everyone who had helped during the bayanihan. To the different groups and people who supported and donated money and time in making the campaign a success, I don’t think there are words to express how thankful we all are,” said Irnita O. Bou, a local resident, in a phone interview.

She has two children attending the rebuilt school.

In a phone interview, Cantilan Mayor Genito Guardo also thanked the groups behind the effort. He said the people of Ayoke Island also helped in the project.

Guardo said he is looking forward to similar projects in his town in the future.

Emma Hotchkiss, president of the Carrascal, Cantilan, Madrid, Carmen, Lanuza Baywatch Foundation who spearheaded the solicitation of funds, said that the donation reached almost P111,000, about 80% of which came from those living abroad.

“The response and help that we got was one of the factors that made the campaign successful. We also got discount from the supplier of the materials so we were able to save from the overall expense. We saved more than 10,000 pesos and hope to put the money into the next project together with other pledges that we have not collected yet,” said Hotchkiss. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)