By Jonathan Mongcal
CAGAYAN DE ORO – The Cagayan de Oro chapter of CheckMySchool (CMS) may only be less than two years old, but its achievements in setting a new direction for the local education scene are worth more than a decade. Late this year, CMS had partnered with the Kiwanis Club-Macajalar Bay District of Cagayan de Oro to implement the project “SaGIFT Aral,” which focuses on distributing school supplies to students. School kits include pencils, notebooks, crayons, colored papers, and bond paper.
CMS chapter coordinator Jonathan Mongcal presents CMS agenda to Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno.
What initially started as a simple project to distribute school materials has now become much more institutionalized: CMS is now being made to participate in the budget process of the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Gingoog, both in the province of Misamis Oriental in Mindanao. Provincial CMS chapter coordinator Jonathan Mongcal says that the organization’s participation in local governance processes will ensure that education will be given priority by the province’s officials through the Data Access towards Accountable Governance (DATAGov) Project 2 of the CODE-NGO implemented by the GROUP Foundations, Inc. in the above mentioned cities.
“Students need much more than just classrooms and school supplies. It is the role of CMS to guarantee that schools receive sustainable support from the government. The CMS’ participation in the budget process is a step in that direction,” Mongcal says. He says that what CMS is now today—of already being recognized by the local government and being made part of its processes—is thanks to the spirit of volunteerism that spread among its partners.
CMS in the province started in January 2015 and has since then built its network. From a presentation to the provincial school board by a few CMS members, the campaign eventually spread to more groups and volunteers. To date, CMS partners with at least five other nongovernmental organizations including Kiwanis International, Group Foundation Incorporated, the VOICE Network (Volunteer Organizations Information Coordination Exchange) and World Vision Development Foundation. Mongcal, however, says that much has yet to be done.
He adds, “CMS has proven that we all can work together to achieve quality education for students in the country. This spirit of volunteerism, of bayanihan, is uniquely very Filipino. I am hopeful that this will spread among more volunteers who will join us in our journey of a thousand miles more.”
Edited by David Faustino De Castro