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One Meralco Foundation brings light to schools for Manobo students

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Mindful of the importance of education as the greatest equalizer especially for the marginalized sectors, One Meralco Foundation installed a solar photovoltaic (PV) system under its School Electrification Program (SEP), providing them more opportunities and improving their learning experience. 

Now, students and teachers in Blanga Elementary School in Sitio Blanga, Barangay Nalilidan in Kalamansig, Sultan Kuradat have access to power 24/7.

Blanga Elementary School, an off-grid, 100% Indigenous Peoples (IP) school which can only be reached via habal-habal or 4×4 vehicles due to the rough and rocky terrain up the mountains, is the second home of 167 Dulangan Manobo elementary students from Grades 1 to 6.  

With the help of its partners, primarily the Department of Education (DepEd) and their respective local governments, Blanga Elementary School has become the first school in Sultan Kudarat to be energized by OMF harnessing the power of the sun. Two more schools in the municipality of Lebak – Elem Elementary School and Datu Manggong Elementary School – were also energized with solar PV systems. 

With the newly installed solar PV systems and three laptops generously donated by Lenovo Philippines Inc., students and teachers in these schools are given more chances to learn with the help of technology. 

For Teacher Jade Faeldonea who paved the way to open the Blanga Elementary School in 2015, the solar PV system can finally power the DepEd-provided learning devices. 

“Through One Meralco Foundation’s gift of solar off-grid energy, we can now use equipment like laptops and TV. We’re blessed that OMF brought this system to the students here,” he said in Filipino. 

Blanga Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) President Elen Mapan, meanwhile, said she is glad that her child can now enhance his learning through a television, as she shared: “I did not finish schooling, so to see my son studying in a school in our sitio without having to travel far, makes me glad. Thank you Meralco for hiking up the mountains to visit us and for bringing your gift here. You have made the students, teachers, and parents in Sitio Blanga happy.”  

“One Meralco Foundation has shown unwavering dedication to empowering communities through sustainable and inclusive development initiatives. Their commitment to improving the lives of others is commendable, and it is truly inspiring to see them join forces with LGUs and the DepEd in this project. Together, we are breaking barriers and paving the way for a brighter future for our students,” Sultan Kudarat Governor Datu Pax Ali Mangudadatu, for his part, said. 

Through its SEP, OMF energizes public schools in remote off-grid areas through solar energy to enable multi-media learning for students residing in the country’s most underserved communities.   

OMF President Jeffrey O. Tarayao said: “To be able to witness our students and teachers utilizing these various multi-media equipment because solar-powered electricity is now available in these schools, gives us a sense of hope and joy that we are also able to provide improved opportunities for productivity even for remote communities in the Philippines.” 

The event was also attended by DepEd Region 12 Regional Director Mr. Carlito D. Rocafort, Sultan Kudarat Schools Division Superintendent Crispin A. Soliven, Jr., as well as Kalamansig Municipal Administrator Gerry C. Dela Cruz representing Mayor Joaquin T. Concha and Sultan Kudarat Board Member Soriel Lib-Atin representing Gov. Mangudadatu.

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