Let's Talk About PAGCOR

Tag: Bulacan

TIMELY AID

by on Dec.01, 2014, under PAGCOR CSR

ROSANNA’s smile was as bright as the ray of sunlight shining down on their humble abode.

The 31-year-old mother of four could not contain her joy when she learned that her eldest daughter, Rochelle, will be part of her school’s feeding program.

Financial difficulties plague the Armado family. Rosanna’s income from selling puto (rice cake) and her husband’s meager earnings from driving a passenger jeepney are not enough to put food on the family table.

“Dahil wala akong puhunan para makapag-tinda uli ng puto, pinagka-kasya na lang namin ang natira sa huling kinita ko at ng mister ko para maka-bili ng kahit itlog na pang-ulam ng mga bata,” Rosanna said.

A volunteer employee from Casino Filipino Angeles assists a young pupil during a recent PAGCOR feeding program held at Malino Elementary School in Mexico, Pampanga.

A volunteer employee from Casino Filipino Angeles assists a young pupil during a recent PAGCOR feeding session held at Malino Elementary School in Mexico, Pampanga.

Since her family is in dire straits, Rosanna is worried that her children’s health would be compromised. Their common fare of fried eggs will not be sufficient to give them the proper nutrition that they need.

Rosanna is likewise worried that her daughter Rochelle, a 12-year old grade six pupil at Malino Elementary School in Mexico, Pampanga, cannot cope with school activities because she lacks nourishment. Rochelle walks more than a kilometer from their home everyday to reach her school. By the time she gets to school, she no longer has the energy to participate actively in class.

Rosanna considers it as a timely blessing that Rochelle was chosen as one of the 70 beneficiaries of the PAGCOR Feeding Program through its Casino Filipino Angeles branch in Pampanga.  The feeding program benefits pupils from kinder to grade six.

“Hindi naman po pumapasok ng eskwela ang anak ko nang hindi kumakain, pero yun nga lang po, minsan ay wala siyang pambaon.  Kaya’t malaking tulong po sa amin na nasama siya sa feeding program ng PAGCOR,” Rosanna enthused.

An informative poster about PAGCOR’s intensive campaign against malnutrition catches the attention of this group of pupils from Malino Elementary School in Mexico, Pampanga.

An informative poster about PAGCOR’s intensive campaign against malnutrition catches the attention of this group of pupils from Malino Elementary School in Mexico, Pampanga.

Malino Elementary School Principal Amalia Serrano reported that of their 906 enrollees this year, 11 are classified as “severely wasted” while 59 are labeled as “wasted”.  Rochelle belongs to the “wasted” category.

According to humanitarian organization Action Contre la Faim (ACF) International which carries out the “Action Against Hunger” campaign in 45 countries, “severely wasted” are those who look almost elderly and are extremely thin and skeletal.  On the other hand, “wasted” children suffer from moderate acute malnutrition.

As of May this year, the Department of Education (DepEd) reported that there are about 8,000 children in the province of Pampanga with severe lack of nutrition. Of this number, 2,080 are currently covered by the PAGCOR Feeding Program through the agency’s Casino Filipino branch in Angeles City. The branch also attends to the nutritional needs of 1,120 malnourished public school students in 16 public schools in Bulacan.

To ensure that the feeding program would produce the desired result, Serrano asked the parents of the Feeding Program beneficiaries to deworm their children.

“We consider ourselves blessed to have been chosen by PAGCOR as beneficiaries of this feeding program. This is a one-of-a-kind activity in our district since our pupils who lack nutrition are being treated to sumptuous and healthy lunch every school day.  I believe that it will have a great impact on them,” she noted.  Malino Elementary School is the 18th institution to benefit from the PAGCOR Feeding Program in Pampanga.

An employee from Casino Filipino Angeles shows off the nutritious meals they served during the recent PAGCOR Feeding Program at Guiguinto Central School in Bulacan.

An employee of Casino Filipino Angeles holds a plate with complete meal to be served to the students of Guiguinto Central School in Bulacan.

Another beneficiary is Guiguinto Central School in Guiguinto, Bulacan. A one-hectare learning institution, it is the second biggest public school in Guiguinto with an average population of 1,700 students.

Prior to the PAGCOR Feeding Program, the school could only cater to the nutritional needs of 25 pupils due to lack of funds.

“Even if we wanted to include more kids in our feeding program, our limited budget could only allow us to accommodate few students whom we thought really needed immediate nutritional aid.  Pero snacks lang iyon at hindi full meal gaya ng isine-serve ng PAGCOR,” explained Guiguinto Central School Principal Lolita Dayao.

One of the students chosen to undergo the feeding program is Grade Two pupil Leandro. The skinny eight-year-old boy always eats alone under a tree as he does not want his classmates to see him only eating fish balls bought from a vendor outside their school. He could not buy something better to eat because his parents could not give him a bigger allowance.

Even if Leandro is not as hale and healthy like some of his classmates, he belongs to the top section in his grade level and actively participates in their classroom activities.  His 37-year-old mother Rebecca proudly related that their extreme poverty does not prevent her from dreaming big for his son.

“Wala po akong ibang pangarap kundi ang makapag-tapos ng pag-aaral ang anak ko dahil siya ang ina-asahan kong makakapag-ahon sa amin sa kahirapan,” Rebecca said.  Their family only survives on the P350 daily wage of his husband Roberto who works as driver for a hardware store.

Dayao believes that Leandro can still have a bright future.  “We need to take care of pupils like Leandro who strives to perform well in class even if he is deprived of proper diet due to his family’s financial difficulties. With the proper nutrition that this PAGCOR feeding program could provide, we’re very certain that he’ll be at par with the best students in his class in the coming months,” she added.

The school head added that she also expects other beneficiaries of the PAGCOR Feeding Program to make a remarkable progress in their academic performance.

“With a bigger budget at hand, we can now afford to prepare really nutritious meals that would help energize the brains of these pupils and keep them healthy.  We’d forever be grateful to PAGCOR for making our school a beneficiary of their feeding program,” Dayao cheerfully concluded. (Jesse Ong)

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TWO PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN BULACAN RECEIVE NEW SCHOOL BUILDINGS FROM PAGCOR

by on Aug.04, 2014, under PAGCOR CSR

SAN JOSE DEL MONTE, Bulacan – While most grade school students spend at least six hours a day in school, seven-year old Josh Beckhamlee Sabulao only spends four hours attending his classes at Benito Nieto Elementary School (BNES).

For the longest time, the public school has been implementing three shifts for its first and second graders just to accommodate over 2,000 students in its 23 classrooms.

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Grade 2 pupil Josh Beckhamlee Sabulao

Josh, who is in second grade, belongs to the third shift. He goes to school at 2 p.m. and heads home by 6:00 p.m. At such a young age, he has learned to adjust to unconventional school hours that starts and ends late in the day.

Since he belongs to the pilot section and is a fast learner, Josh has no problems coping with the shortened classes. He can now read, write and do simple Math. But those who can’t learn fast enough have to undergo a remedial class together with the other slow learners from other sections.

Fortunately, such set-up will end soon. Through the help of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (PAGCOR) Matuwid na Daan sa Silid-Aralan school building project, BNES will be able to reduce their class shifts from three to two. Because of this, “pupils from Grades 1 and 2 like Josh will also be able to experience a longer class period of six instead of four hours,” BNES Principal Supronio Macawile said.

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Facade of the newly-turned over two-storey, four-classroom PAGCOR building in San Jose Del Monte National High School.

Just like BNES, the San Jose Del Monte National High School (SJDMNHS) received a two-storey, four-classroom building from the state-owned gaming firm recently. A building costs over P8 million. PAGCOR is also constructing another two-storey, four-classroom building in Graceville National High School, also in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.

PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Cristino Naguiat, Jr. said the state-owned gaming agency – in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd) – is doing its best to help alleviate the plight of students in public schools nationwide.

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(From left) San Jose Del Monte (SJDM) Bulacan City Engineering’s Office Representative Jean Leaño, SJDM Congressman Arthur Robes, PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Cristino L. Naguiat, Jr., DepEd Regional Director Isabelita Borres, Schools Division Supt. Estelita Pineda, San Jose Del Monte Bulacan National High School Principal Wilma Aquino and school representatives grace PAGCOR’s official turn-over of the two-storey, four- classroom building in San Jose Del Monte Bulacan National High School.

According to Naguiat, out of several nation-building initiatives that PAGCOR funds and supports, the school building project is the most significant. “Ito ay dahil ang direktang nakikinabang ay ang ating mga kabataan na syang pag-asa ng ating bayan. They are the future leaders of our country and good leadership begins with good education. That is PAGCOR’s goal, to promote quality education in the country,” he pointed out.

Likewise, SJDMNHS Principal Wilma Aquino is extremely grateful to PAGCOR for constructing four new classrooms that will help address the congestion in their school. Despite having 3,300 students, SJDMNHS only had 41 functional classrooms. This forced the school to implement a morning and afternoon shift that lasts from 6 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. and 12:15 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., respectively.

School Division Superintendent Estelita Pineda said the public schools in San Jose Del Monte are continuously faced with problems on classroom shortage due to the increasing enrolment population. “San Jose Del Monte has served as the government’s relocation site for informal settlers coming from different parts of Metro Manila. When I was assigned here a year and a half ago, nakita ko ang malaking pangangailangan sa mga school buildings. Pero masaya kami dahil maraming stakeholders na tumutulong. Natutuwa din kami dahil this year, tatlo ang buildings na naibigay ng PAGCOR sa San Jose Del Monte,” Pineda narrated.

Meanwhile, Congressman Arthur Robes of the Lone District of San Jose Del Monte Bulacan underscored the importance of the newly-built PAGCOR classrooms to the education and future of their children. “Ang mga bagong silid-aralan na bigay ng PAGCOR ay makaka-bawas sa problema ng congestion sa aming public schools. Malaki ang maitutulong ng mga ito para mabago ang buhay ng mga kabataan ng San Jose Del Monte,” he added.

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