SAN MIGUEL, Bohol, October 1, (PIA) – Australia further cements its relations with Bohol with its most recent grant of P10.8 million worth of nine disaster resilient classrooms in three separate buildings, all of them to be erected in San Miguel town.
No less than Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Bill Tweddell, together with counsellor Geoff King and embassy officials joined Governor Edgar Chatto and San Miguel Mayor Claudio Bonior in simple groundbreaking ceremonies for the first of the three buildings Australia is funding, for the town.
During the groundbreaking at the San Miguel Central Elementary School grounds, Ambassador Tweddell said Australia funds the project under its Basic Education Sector Transformation (BEST) program, one of Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) assistance facilities to the country.
Australia has been a very strong Philippine partner in education, noting that everyone must be involved in the task of educating children, Ambassador Tweddell pointed out.
Annually, AusAID allocates some 25 M Australian dollars for the BEST, while it also apportions between $15-18 million Australian dollars for its Provincial Road Management Facility (PRMF) programs, which the country has generously poured for Bohol.
The Department of Education (DEPED) has its list of priority programmed school building projects, and school building project partner, the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) works with DepED identified beneficiaries to lay the ground-works for capacitating communities in taking care and sustaining the project, explains PBSP Visayas Jose Antonio Aboitiz.
The concrete building grants have fully reinforced cement structures with concrete roof deck to act as an additional sturdy and secure evacuation area for pupils and communities, reinforced structures to withstand lateral movement in cases of earthquakes and sports separate and thus, gender sensitive rest rooms, according to Aboitiz.
Of the three structures, which would be constructed in San Miguel town, each would have three classrooms so designed for ease of access, stability and aesthetics, the PBSP representative told media at a press conference in the sidelines of the San Miguel event.
For this, instead of the standard P800 thousand budget for a Philippine classroom under the public works specifications, the new buildings would be costing the Australian Government some P1.2 million each or some P3.6 million for its three classroom building.
In his message, Governor Chatto called the building designs extraordinary and was visibly elated when he cited that the project coincides with his harped “build back Bohol better” call.
In accepting the project, San Miguel Central School pupil Fritz Nino Garcia promised to safeguard the building to the best of his ability, to the delighted applause of the parents, teachers and guests gathered for the symbolic activity at the school grounds. (RAC/PIABohol)