Uswag Ilonggo pours P195-M school buildings in Pavia

Cong. Jojo Ang of Uswag Ilonggo Partylist together with the LGU officials of Pavia

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

With a strong commitment to improving the quality of education, the Uswag Ilonggo Party-list has committed P195.25 million to the construction of three school buildings in Pavia that will feature state-of-the-art classrooms and an auditorium.

Pavia National High School (PNHS) is set to witness the construction of the facilities this year, significantly alleviating its classroom shortage issue amidst a yearly rise in student enrollment.

A groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, July 5 marked the beginning of construction for two of these buildings: a three-storey, six-classroom building costing P23.5 million, and a four-storey, 20-classroom building valued at P76.75 million.

Uswag Ilonggo Party-list Congressman James Ang Jr., who played a crucial role in securing the funding, announced that a third building is already in the pipeline with the construction expected next year.

The five-storey structure will feature 24 classrooms, an elevator, and an auditorium, with an estimated cost of P95 million.

“These projects are part of our 5-point agenda, and supporting the educational sector is one of our priorities. We see this as a critical need for our students and a worthwhile investment for future generations,” said Ang during a press conference.

The Uswag Ilonggo’s 5-point agenda includes prioritizing the well-being of Ilonggo families, providing proper healthcare for the poor, implementing consistent infrastructure and tourism programs, advancing agriculture and aquaculture, and increasing scholarships for the youth.

Ang emphasized that the new buildings at PNHS will also serve students from nearby towns, and he committed to providing educational support to neighboring schools as well.

Lourdes Montefrio, Principal IV of PNHS, highlighted the urgent need for these buildings, stating that they will address the severe classroom shortage.

“We are very fortunate that we are given the opportunity to avail of these. This is one way of improving the learning environment of our students,” she added.

According to Montefrio, some classrooms at PNHS accommodate around 70 students, but with the new buildings, Montefrio expects this number will be decongested to 40 or 50 students per classroom.

She added that for the academic year 2023-2024, PNHS has nearly 6,700 enrolled students, a number projected to grow as the education sector recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and more families move to central towns.

The Schools Division Office (SDO) of Iloilo superintendent Ernesto Servillon Jr. said the move is “one step in addressing the perennial problem of classroom shortage” of the province.

“The Uswag Ilonggo Party-list augmented our resources and helped the governor and congressmen in addressing the problem of classroom shortage,” he said.

In 2023, Servillon reported that the SDO Iloilo is in need of 1652 classrooms across the province’s five congressional districts.

The distribution of classrooms per district is as follows: 302 classrooms for the 1st district, 297 for the 2nd district, 385 for the 3rd district, 219 for the 4th district, and 449 classrooms for the 5th district.

To manage the shortage, schools are creating temporary learning spaces, converting existing structures into classrooms, implementing shifting schedules, and using blended learning.

As a “catch-up plan,” the provincial government on its part is already studying the practicality of repurposing emergency medical tents provided by the Philippine Red Cross as alternative classroom spaces.

Aside from school infrastructures, the Uswag Ilonggo Party-list also distributed financial assistance worth P10,000 each to 476 student scholars in the second congressional district.

The cash assistance, which started in 2023, will be received by the scholars annually.

“The cash assistance to our students is already a big relief considering that the opening of classes is already on July 29. Our students can now focus on their education alone instead of looking for jobs to sustain their educational needs,” said 2nd district Representative Michael Gorriceta.

The Uswag Ilonggo Party-list has also committed to providing each of the 18 villages in Pavia town with a Toyota Lite Ace, to be used as an emergency response vehicle in technical rescue operations.

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