Bayog, Zamboanga del Sur / October 2017 – In the Philippine countryside, a number of isolated rural villages most likely suffer from the lack of teachers for their schools, among other dilemmas brought forth by the lack of funds. And these may be the lucky ones as some do not have basic school facilities at all.
But in the town of Bayog in Zamboanga del Sur Province, particularly in the distant impoverished villages of Pulang Bato, Dimalinao and Depore, the schools are complete with teachers and the education level is competitive. Thus, the education of these rural children from marginalized communities is unhampered, comprehensive and of good quality – due in part to the support they receive from TVIRD.
TVI Resource Development Incorporated (TVIRD) began commercial operations in the region via the Canatuan Gold-Silver / Copper-Zinc Project in the town of Siocon, which was elevated to a first-class municipality over the course of its operations.
The company then expanded to include the Balabag Gold-Silver Project in Bayog Municipality – some 75 kilometers away – where TVIRD continues to accelerate the access to quality education in areas where there is a lack of teachers.
Helping teachers and students
As part of its key development thrust for responsive education, the company subsidizes the salaries of “auxiliary” elementary school teachers who now contribute to the Department of Education (DepEd) workforce in these villages. The initiative is aimed towards augmenting the regular academe who are overwhelmed by the current number of students.
“If we don’t pitch in, the other teachers need to handle or combine two sections at the same time. And this greatly affects the quality of education of the children,” said Oteza Quizon Mendoza, one of the teachers subsidized by TVIRD in Pulang Bato Elementary School.
“We get to go to trainings and seminars too just like the regular teachers. And most of all, when there are finally regular teaching positions available, we get a higher chance to be absorbed by the DepEd because of our experience,” said Junalyn Rufino, a teacher from Pulang Bato.
TVIRD Community Relations Manager Lope Dizon said that since the company institutionalized its education program in the area in 2012, “Seven teachers from the program have been absorbed and are now regular teachers under the DepEd.”
A career path
“Not only are we able to receive income from teaching, we also have a strong chance to become career government teachers. Most of all, we have the opportunity to provide quality education to poor children who otherwise could not get the same without the help of the company,” Teacher Rufino noted.
But TVIRD goes further. This time, it challenged said barangays to build daycare centers for pre-school children and they will provide the teachers for these as well.
“Now, there are four barangays who built daycare centers and we initially provided them with two teachers in Pulang Bato, and one teacher each in the villages of Dimalinao, Depore and Dipili. We will also enhance and develop these centers aside from providing teachers,” said Dizon.
The TVIRD Officer is heartened that the company’s decision to roll-out the program five years ago is the right one. “Our elementary and day-care center teachers are testament to the company’s dedication to provide quality education to the community,” he concluded.
The Balabag Gold-Silver Project is situated in a 4,779-hectare Mineral Processing Sharing Agreement (MPSA) area approximately 75 kilometers east-northeast of the Canatuan mine – TVIRD’s former flagship project. From its past successes, the company plans to “bring Canatuan to Balabag,” including its core advocacies and the overall commitment to elevate its host communities.