ITOGON, BENGUET – An agricultural secondary school that would help this mining municipality pursue and support the national government’s program on basic education will soon rise in this municipality.
Thanks to the Philex Mining Corporation which is providing its host town of Itogon a P16-million classroom building in Sitio Ayosip, Brgy. Poblacion as support to the K to 12 program of the Department of Education.
Last week, the local officials led by Gov. Crescencio Pacalso and Itogon Mayor Vic Palangdan with Philex Mining CEO and President Eulalio Austin Jr., and Department of Education – CAR Regional Director Beatriz Torno, Mines and Geosciences Bureau – CAR Regional Director Fay Apil and other stakeholders signed the memorandum of agreement for the project and followed by a ground breaking ceremony. Manny Agcoili, Philex Mining Senior Vice president and resident manager of its Padcal operations, said the two-story building which will be called as the Itogon Agricultural National High School (IANHS), will have 10 classrooms and two faculty rooms to accommodate senior high-schoolers (Grades 11 and 12) who would enroll by June. A teachers’ quarters will follow soon.
Austin said the granting of funds for the IANHS is part of Philex Mining’s commitment to a humanized responsible mining, which translates to community development by building schools and roads, adhering to labor standards, protecting the environment, and promoting the welfare of stakeholders.
He added that the IANHS may also fall under the standards being spearheaded by Secretary Regina Lopez, of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for mining companies to “focus on the impacted communities” in implementing projects under the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP).
For the part of the DepEd, Torno said they will talk with the Benguet State University (BSU) in the provincial capital of La Trinidad, to provide academic support, especially its expertise on agricultural studies, for the IANHS. “We need the agricultural sector to prosper,” she added, stressing the need to enhance livelihood programs in the region.
Pacalso thanked the mining company for their support in providing structures and facilities for the students and the people of Benguet.
“We would like to see more of this project, in light of the unpredictable position of the central government about mining. So we want to see more of this project – to show that LGU, the mining sector, DepED, and all the other agencies” can come together for community development. “We know that Philex is already a certified responsible mining company, and this is what we want to show – that part of its responsibility which radiates to other barangays in the municipality,” he added. PIA-CAR / ABN
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