By Charrie Joy Masculino
BUENAVISTA, Guimaras – It seemed like a long shot, but Principal Jocelyn Villa of Buenavista National High School had nothing to lose from writing that letter.
Villa oversees one of the biggest public schools in the province of Guimaras in terms of enrollees, nearing 4,000 students.
Her school struggles with a lack of classrooms, as teachers have to do with improvised rooms under the shade of trees.
“The lack of classrooms is not conducive to learning,” the Buenavista principal says. “It even came to a point wherein I had to discourage parents from enrolling new students, given the lack of rooms, tables, and chairs.”
Thanks to the efforts of the provincial chapter of Check My School (CMS), Villa was informed of funding projects covered by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). CMS told her that the said corporation had, in fact, started school projects in nearby Iloilo.
In March of 2015, Villa took the chance at writing to PAGCOR, which received the letter through CMS.
In her letter, she stated that Buenavista needed twelve more classrooms to augment its existing twenty-seven classrooms—some of which were constructed in the 1980s and needed renovation.
The school also lacked facilities such as an administration building, a library, and a clinic.
As Villa sealed her letter, she told herself that she would wait with much hope for at least a reply from PAGCOR.
Two months later, she got more than what she had asked for. A representative of PAGCOR visited the local government of Guimaras and gave the assurance that Buenavista would be given funding for new school buildings.
Then again, when construction began in 2015, it was not only Buenavista that was included in the plan but also the other fourteen secondary schools in Guimaras.
All were funded as part of PAGCOR’s corporate social responsibility projects.
About P255 million was given by PAGCOR to the local government of Guimaras to put up school buildings in the province.
Five new buildings are located at Buenavista alone. The new buildings consist of one 4-storey building and four 2-storey buildings, which comprise a total of seventy classrooms.
To date, the PAGCOR-funded construction is nearly complete. And Principal Villa is hopeful that her school will be able to accommodate the increasing number of students annually.
“I am thankful to PAGCOR for granting me more than what I had requested in my letter. The entire province of Guimaras now benefits from their generosity. But, of course, this would not have been possible without the assistance of CMS,” Villa says.
Villa estimates that around 3,000 Buenavista students will use the newly constructed buildings once these are opened in the coming school year.
To see the original letter to PAGCOR, CLICK HERE.
Edited by David Faustino De Castro