13 WB-funded school buildings in Sarangani completed

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/05 March) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has completed 13 school building projects worth P22 million in three municipalities in Sarangani Province through a World Bank-assisted socio-economic and development initiative.

Gemma Rivera, DSWD-Region 12 assistant director, said Tuesday the school building projects were among the community-based infrastructure facilities that were implemented by the agency in the municipalities of Kiamba, Maasim and Maitum in Sarangani as part of the Kalahi-CIDSS program.

Kalahi-CIDSS stands for Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services, which is one of the flagship anti-poverty convergence initiatives being implemented by DSWD.

She said some of the completed school buildings were already turned over to the Department of Education and now utilized by beneficiary pupils and students while several others are due for handover later this month.

“Gone are the days when pupils and students are welcomed by classroom shortage, leaving teachers with no choice but to conduct classes under the trees or divide a room into two just to accommodate the overcrowding learners,” Rivera said in a statement.

The official said most of these projects were one-unit three-classroom buildings that “will help provide conducive and comfortable learning environment” for the beneficiaries.

She said the completed school buildings and facilities will also enhance the national government’s efforts to promote accessible and quality education that result to improved academic outcomes for pupils and students.

In Maasim town, Rivera said they have completed a total of P7.79 million worth school building units in Barangays Seven Hills, Nomoh, Kabatiol, Kablakan, and Daliao.

She said another P3.97 million were spent for the new school buildings in Barangays Maligang and Tambilil in Kiamba town.

The official said a total of P10.832 million worth of school buildings were also completed in Barangays Pangi, New La Union, Wali, Maguling and Ticulab in Maitum town.

She said the construction of the school building project in Barangay Tuanadatu in Maitum was earlier stopped due to an armed conflict in the area.

Kalahi-CIDSS, which was launched by the DSWD in 2003, follows a community-driven development strategy, wherein the people themselves would propose projects needed by their communities.

Local residents are also given a hand in the implementation of the projects, specifically in the budgeting and procurement of the materials.

Rivera said that during the project prioritization process, the 13 beneficiary-villages in Sarangani identified the construction of the classroom buildings as their most pressing need.

She said they were later packaged for funding and implementation by DSWD-12 through a financial assistance from the World Bank.

In Region 12, the agency has already completed 115 school building projects amounting to P142 million through the Kalahi-CIDSS program.

Region 12, which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato as well as the cities of General Santos, Cotabato, Koronadal, Kidapawan and Tacurong. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)