Schools receive solar lanterns

MORE than a thousand students from five different schools in remote barangays in Davao City benefited from the solar lanterns donated by Panasonic in partnership with Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

A total of 86 solar lamps were donated to five elementary schools in remote areas of the city. Eighteen of these were given to Pegalongan Elementary School in Barangay Malamba, Marilog District; 16 units for Pangyan Elementary School, Barangay Tamugan; 16 units each for Kidali Elementary School and Mangas-as Elementary School in Barangay Tambobong, Baguio; and 20 units for Damilag Elementary School at Sitio Damilag, Mapula.

Rommel Gonzales, Senior Program Officer for Education of PBSP, said they have been partnering with DLPC with other projects in helping schools in far-flung areas.

"They provide us directions as to where our different programs should go to," said Gonzales.

"DLPC chooses the school they are assisting. They select those that are on off-grid areas. The school and the community should also be willing to provide counterpart so the units can be delivered to them. Basically, that is how the beneficiary schools are selected," Gonzales said.

He said through this partnership, they were able to acknowledge that there are still off-grid communities within Davao City that needed assistance.

Gonzales said they started with the project in 2015 reaching to different schools in Mindanao particularly those in Davao Oriental, Misamis Oriental, Compostela Valley, Bukidnon, and island provinces and mainland areas, except Lanao del Sur.

"In these areas, we partnered with the Department of Education, their local government units, and some non-government organizations based in the area to provide us with the beneficiary schools," Gonzales said, citing the Lumad Development Center in Cotabato City to which they partnered in 2015.

In the past, DLPC had also provided assistance to other off-grid communities.

"We provided solar battery charging stations affecting different barangays including the schools," said Engr. Roger S. Velasco, executive vice-president and chief operating officer of DLPC.

He added this is part of Panasonic's project of providing 100,000 solar lamps to different chosen communities worldwide.

"We hope to see more of these from Panasonic in partnership with us but we don't know how they will go about with the allocation but we hope to receive more," Velasco said.

Randy Halasan, principal of Pegalongan Elementary School, was grateful that their school was chosen as one of the beneficiaries. He noted the help these solar lamps will provide them.

"This project is such a great help in the community especially to the pupils. They can study their lessons during nighttime and the teachers can make their daily lesson log and instructional materials more conveniently. The community can also make use of it during emergency cases," Halasan said.

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