Barra, Dipolog City – In a philanthropic stride towards educational advancement, Security Bank Foundation Incorporated (SBFI) officially handed over the keys to a new two-story, six-classroom steel building to Barra Elementary School. This initiative is part of SBFI’s “Build a School, Build a Nation Program,” a holistic educational endeavor aimed at improving the quality of basic education across the Philippines by providing classrooms in Security Bank communities.

Distinguished leaders spearheaded the ceremonial ribbon-cutting, comprising Rafael F. Simpao Jr., SBFI Chairman; Melissa Aquino, SBFI Trustee and Corporate Secretary; Leslie Te, Security Bank Dipolog Branch Manager; Francisco Santos, Security Bank Area Head; Hon. Darel Dexter Y. Uy, Mayor of Dipolog City; Hon. Senen O. Angeles, Vice Mayor of Dipolog City; Ma. Liza R. Tabilon, Superintendent of DepEd Dipolog; Lourma I. Poculan, Assistant Superintendent; and Sharika Jumawan, School Principal of Barra ES.

Mr. Simpao emphasized SBFI’s unwavering commitment to education as “one of the greatest equalizers in life,” offering avenues for success irrespective of socioeconomic status. The inception of the ‘Build a School, Build a Nation Program’ dates back to 2011, and since its initiation, SBFI has contributed numerous classrooms to the Department of Education. He further highlighted that their training programs and scholarships have enabled over 2,000 underprivileged students nationwide to access quality education.

Beyond physical infrastructure, SBFI engages in the ‘Mentoring Future Leaders for Nation-Building’ program, having trained 124 school principals and over 36,000 teachers. Barra Elementary School is a beneficiary, with teachers Jessa Ajero and Gemma Villar being English and Mathematics scholars, while School Principal Sharika Jumawan anticipates her enrollment in SBFI’s school head scholarship and training.

The Local Government Unit (LGU) of Dipolog also contributed to the cause by donating 300 chairs, 6 sets of teacher’s tables, a water harvesting system, and a provision of electricity during the construction. During the ceremony, Mayor Darel Dexter Y. Uy underscored the crucial role of partnerships in community development.

In an interview with Engr. Christopher Ace B. Bael, DepEd Dipolog’s resident engineer, insights into the construction process were revealed. Despite facing challenges such as power lines and building permits, the project was completed in 240 days. Engr. Bael commended the construction, surpassing the Department’s standards for classroom infrastructure. The project, with a total cost of 17 million pesos from SBFI and over 1 million pesos from LGU Dipolog, commenced on March 27 of this year.

Finally, School Principal Sharika Jumawan shared her excitement that Grade 5 and 6 levels would occupy the new classrooms starting on November 22, 2023. Overflowing with gratitude, she expressed that her heart was full, and reflected on the profound impact the project would have on Barra Elementary School’s pupils. Schools Division Superintendent of Dipolog City, Dr. Ma. Liza R. Tabilon, also conveyed her gratitude to SBFI, stating how enabling the project is in the fulfillment of the Department’s MATATAG agenda.

The pupils echoed their appreciation for the new Security Bank Foundation Building. They expressed eagerness to embrace the opportunities it brings for their education and future. The donation from SBFI and the collaborative efforts of the LGU of Dipolog serve as beacons of hope and progress for the community, reflecting a shared commitment to education and empowerment.

As of today, SBFI has constructed 733 classrooms in 130 schools across 74 cities and municipalities throughout the country.

(via DIO-Alternate Cielbert E. Dondoyano, Jr. of DepEd Dipolog PAU)