Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Isolated village finds hope in VP Leni visit
By John Mark Escandor

CALABANGA, Camarines Sur, Aug. 2 (PNA) -- Thrown into the national limelight when Vice President Leni Robredo made its village chief officiate her oath-taking, the village of Punta Tarawal in this town found fresh hopes with her visit over the weekend.

Its village chief Ronaldo Coner was thankful when Robredo told him about the projects, such as a road network that would link the village to the town center and a potable water system, that were being prepared to alleviate the plight of the villagers.

He also said clean water supply will soon become available in the village.

Robredo said since Punta Tarawal earned publicity during her inauguration, some groups have responded to the call for help to the village.

Eddie Galvez, former Pres. Aquino’s classmate and trustee of Agap (Aklat, Gabay, Aruga tungo sa Pag-angat at Pag-asa), said they will be constructing a two-story elementary school building in the village.

Robredo said she has suggested the two-story facility to function as an evacuation center at the same time.

Galvez said Agap, which has built 1,070 classrooms in the country since it was established in 2010, is focused on including a library and bathroom in the two-story building.

Expected to take three months to build, the school building will be equipped with 350 books and several pieces of furniture.

Julius Guerrero, head teacher of the Punta Tarawal Elementary School, said there are only 51 pupils in the multi-grade levels: six in kindergarten, five in grade one, six in grade two, four in grade three, nine in grade four, 11 in grade five and 10 in grade six.

He said the 1,000-square-meter school compound currently has two school buildings and one condemned two-story building.

There are only two teachers, including Guerrero, who are handling the multi-grade classes “but another teacher will soon be coming” to augment them.

Robredo said that in a meet with the Calabanga Water District, she learned it would cost PHP19 million to connect Punta Tarawal to the district’s water system network.

Villagers spend PHP5 for a PHP20-liter container, excluding the transport cost of PHP7 for each container, while each household consumes an average of five containers a day.

“There are so many problems here because of the location,” said Robredo.

She said the place is not suitable for the building of houses because of its vulnerability to storm surges.

“But the villagers are resisting relocation because they depend on the sea for their livelihood,” she added.

Robredo said the phase 1 of the construction of the seawall is ongoing while building of the covered court for social functions in the village will start soon.(PNA) JMC/GVR/JME/CBD