SAN AGUSTIN, Pili, Camarines Sur---Sisters Ellen and Ena Alferez were feeling happy and excited this September 26, 2017. Both knew that their old school supplies will be replaced with new ones, plus a Jollibee meal and dairy milk for snacks.
However, they were also sad for their sister Edilyn who was absent on that day to take care of her younger siblings.
But according to the representatives of the Department of Agriculture-Bicol, absentees will still receive their new school supplies.
Thus, putting back the smiles in them.
The Alferez sisters belonged to a family of 12. Their parents have no regular jobs and could hardly make both ends meet.
Thus, the gift-giving activity of DA-Bicol in celebration of the 117th Civil Service Anniversary with the theme “Tugon sa Hamon ng Pagbabago:Malasakit ng Lingkod-Bayan” on September 26, 2017 is like an early Christmas party for them.
The Alferez sisters are part of the 327 student-beneficiaries of San Agustin Elementary School in this place.
Division Chief of Administration and Finance Rosario C. Sales cited the importance of education in her message in behalf of the Regional Executive Director Dr. Elena B. De los Santos. “Mag-adal nin marhay, magkatrabaho, magkaigwa nin kwarta, asin magtao sa kapwa, kaya yaon an Department of Agriculture sa saindong eskwelahan ngunyan (study hard, find job, have money and share to your fellowmen, that’s why the Department of Agriculture is here in your school today).”
School Principal Marilyn C. Brazil thanked DA-Bicol for all the assistance that the office have been extending to their school like provision of garden tools, vegetable seeds and fruit-bearing seedlings for their Gulayan Sa Paaralan, Tree-Planting, and Gulayan Sa Bawat Tahanan activities.
Ellen’s teacher Jesareh Pineda said that the plight of the Alferez sisters are common in their school. Majority of her students lack school supplies. Her eight co-teachers would sometimes provide their students with school supplies especially during their art classes. One student would ask her “Ma’m, pwede ballpen na sana an ipandrawing ko (Ma’m, can I use my ballpen to draw)?” due to lack of pencil for drawing.
Pineda was also happy with the outreach activity because it is so timely and useful for the students.
Grade Five teacher Helen Morada said that because of poverty and lack of regular income of the parents, 10% of their students were considered severely wasted and 17% as wasted due to poor nutrition and capability of the parents to feed properly their children.
Morada explained that the support of the DA-Bicol in their Gulayan sa Bawat Tahanan will be a big help in alleviating the nutritional needs of the children.
The outreach activity in the said school is a first from the office. (jaysonmgonzales with photos by Raymond Adversario and Hermito Privaldos).