CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- Through the outpouring support and donations of Don Bosco alumni and past pupils, the Don Bosco Academy in Bacolor, Pampanga is finally set to reopen in school year 2017-2018.
In a press conference held Monday at Max's Restaurant in Villa Del Sol in third city, Fr. Ditto Gueco, vice provincial of the North Province of the Salesians of Don Bosco in the Philippines, announced the good news that the private Catholic educational institution will go back to its original site in Bacolor town.
"It's official. Don Bosco reopens co-educational in Bacolor Pampanga. The young, both male and female will now be given the excellent and quality Don Bosco education that is our pride in Don Bosco," he said.
It can be noted that the Don Bosco campus situated at Barangay Cabalantian in Bacolor opened in 1956, but after 20 years, in 1995, it became one of the fatal casualties of Mount Pinatubo after almost 20 feet of lahar buried the entire barangay.
The eruptions had forced Don Bosco Academy to transfer its campus in Mabalacat City in 1996.
According to Don Bosco Academy Batch 1966 alumni Levy P. Laus, the clamor to reopen the institution prompted them to initiate talks and negotiations to bring back the campus to Bacolor.
With the provincial council of Don Bosco Academy Philippines, they took steps to meet the House of David Group, which acquired the property and established Mary the Queen Academy of Pampanga in the site in 2000.
Other initiatives Laus made was to raise an appeal to the Salesians in Turin, Italy to allow the re-opening of the Bacolor campus.
After the documents were submitted to the Vatican City, Archbishop Florentino Lavarias gave his consent, and Salesian rector major Fr. Angel Fernandez, approved the reestablishment of the Bacolor campus last January 20.
"We, the past pupils of Don Bosco started this initiative back in July 2015, and fast forward today, we are very happy with the announcement that finally, our beloved school will re-open," he said.
"This is a momentous event for all Bosconians, particularly those who spent all their years studying at Don Bosco. Punong-puno ng kaligayahan ang puso namin ngayong oras na ito," he added.
According to Fr. Gueco, the Don Bosco Academy in Bacolor will offer kindergarten, elementary (Grade 1 to Grade 6), as well as Junior High School (Grade 7).
He also noted that the schools’ Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Center will also run simultaneously with the basic education level.
"Opening the Don Bosco Academy in Bacolor has to help our needy and less-privileged young people of Pampanga, that is why we will open a Technical Vocational Education and Training center here, but we need to prepare logistically so give us three school years for that," he said
Fr. Gueco noted that the Don Bosco Academy to open this 2017 in Bacolor is the fourth co-educational campus of the Salesian school.
"This decision underwent so much process, of thinking, of meeting, of engaging our alumnus, and getting their consent. The times call for it. Being exclusive has its advantages but being co-educational has more," he said.