ORMOC CITY – SM Foundation, in partnership with donor UBS, turned over to the community here its first ever PWD-friendly two-story, four-classroom building under its “Adopt-A-School” program in the morning of September 1, 2017.
The building is also the first school building donation of UBS,said compliance officer Nina Aguilar; and, the first new and 2-story edifice in the Cogon Central School for the past 20 years, said principal Marita T. Albienda. It was further learned that the schoolbuilding’s design is by SM president Hans Sy himself, an engineer by profession. Juris Soliman, a representative of SM, was
also proud to point out that the building was also sturdy, surviving three earthquakes while it was still being constructed “without a hairline crack”. The classrooms are fully furnished, with a curved blackboard that would enable students on the back seat to read the writings on the board well; with 50 armchairs each, 5 of which are for the lefthanded; a toilet each; electric fans; teachers’ desks and chairs; and, a PWD-friendly comfort room at the bottom of the stairs on the left. Carmen Linda Atayde, SM Foundation executive director for education, said the building
is their 83rd in the country since the School Building Program was launched in 1992, and their first partnership with UBS, an investment firm.
Atayde added that the school building was just one of many programs of SM Foundation for Ormoc City, where a mall is soon coming up. She said that wherever SM is present, they make sure that
the community is also served by the Foundation. Among these programs are college and tech-voc scholarships, medical missions, health and wellness, and even farmers’ training. Ormoc City was also a recipient of around 200 houses for Yolanda victims under SM Cares. On the other hand, UBS compliance officer Nina Aguilar said she was pleasantly “surprised by the quality of the building, and the size. It looked small in the pictures.”
She added that when earthquakes struck Ormoc in July and August, she was fearful it would affect the building, and that she was even getting prepared to report to her colleagues that they might need to add on to their donation.
Aguilar, who said it was she who picked Cogon Central School as the location for their school donation, said they examined six locations and Cogon was the last they visited. “Why did I choose Cogon? Because it had the most passionate teachers.”
She was impressed by the sincerity of principal Marita T. Albienda who went around with them in the school, and pleaded for the donation.
Albienda, she learned, was the graduate of the same school 20 years ago, and that the school has had no new building since then. She has not regretted the choice because she saw how the community was thankful for the donation. The Parents-Teachers Association of the school themselves worked on demolishing the old school buildings, excited to make way for the new one.
The UBS representative also touched the hearts of the teachers and parents present during the turnover when she said that their donation was not only for the present, but also for the future. She said that “education gets magnified every generation… and makes every generation even better.”
Cogon Central School pupils hold up the ceremonial key to their new classroom, following SM Foundation-UBS’ donation to the school of a 2-story, 4-classroom building, while below picture shows the school’s GPTA posing in front of the marker.
Taking herself as an example, Aguilar said their forebear was a farmer who sent his children to school. His children and their children’s children are now professionals in various fields.
On the other hand, the community was profuse in their gratitude to the SM Foundation – UBS donation. Homer S. Cañedo, PTA president, said they were very excited with the donation. A graduate of the school himself, he was happy that the school now has a new building as the old ones are also dilapidated, and hoped there would be a second donation.
Present to receive the donation in behalf of Department and Education and LGU-Ormoc were Superintendent Dr. Manuel Albano and councilors Nolito Quilang and Vincent Rama, respectively. By Lalaine M. Jimenea