May 21, 2014
“Rehabilitation Czar” Secretary Ping Lacson Breaks Ground for School Reconstruction Project Sponsored by 10- and 13-year old Filipina Americans
Secretary Ping Lacson is joining the Mayor of Tanauan, Leyte, Honorable Pel Tecson; Dr. Ronelo Firmo, Superintendent, Leyte Division, Department of Education; Amado David of Los Angeles, California and grandfather of the two Filipina American children sponsors; and the community of Yolanda survivors of Tanauan, Leyte in breaking ground at the site of where a new school building will rise in Barangay Maribi to replace a totally damaged building.
The losses of the town of Tanauan as a result of Typhoon Yolanda include 39 elementary schools, 5 high schools, and 1 university, or 100% of its schools heavily or totally damaged. The Malaya and Tala Fund (MTF), established through the efforts of two young Filipino-American sisters aged 10- and 13-years old (see description below), is constructing a four-classroom school building at Maribi Elementary School in Barangay Maribi, Tanauan, Leyte to replace the school’s totally destroyed Millennium Building.
The new building adds two classrooms, which will help in accommodating incoming elementary school children from the families displaced within the 50 meter No Build Zone of Barangay San Roque, who are being relocated to the permanent housing relocation project of Gawad Kalinga and Tanauan LGU at Barangays Pago and Maribi.
In addition to being the first to start construction of a school in all of Tanauan and having perhaps the youngest funders for a post-Yolanda rehabilitation project, the MTF project also introduces new directions in disaster resiliency, greening or environmental stewardship, and a community participatory approach.
While the MTF school building was designed for a disaster resilience of 250 kph, the results of several engineering tests confidently show that the design can withstand a wind velocity of 350 kph.
The school design also promotes environmental stewardship and features an ecological sanitation system –ecosan– instead of a conventional CR. The ecosan is solar assisted and not dependent on water. The design of the school building also features the use of solar panels to light the classrooms, natural lighting in the open classroom, and collection of rainwater.
Community inclusion and participation is the approach taken by the MTF on this project. Consultations with stakeholders including dislocated residents of Barangay San Roque, barangay governments of Maribi and San Roque, parents and school children as well as the national and local officials of the Department of Education and the LGU executive of Tanauan, Mayor Pel Tecson were actively sought as early as in January this year to guide MTF’s selection of Maribi Elementary School as the location of the project.
The approach of community participation promotes empowerment of the potential beneficiaries by drawing them into the process of providing feedback on the design, discussing the need for monitoring construction and also in participating in the actual construction work through bayanihan activities, cash-for-work, or getting employed by the contractor.
The cost of this project is less than Php1.48 million per classroom, totaling Php5,930,000 or about US$135,000. The main bulk of the funding, $100,000, comes from funds raised by the two children, Malaya and Tala David. The $35,000 additional funds are being brought in through the recent partnership of the MTF with the U.S. union, Service Employees International Union.
The Malaya and Tala Fund (MTF) Description
The Malaya and Tala Fund began as a project of Malaya and Tala David, 10 and 13 year old, third generation Filipina-American sisters living in Berkeley, California. Malaya and Tala wanted to reach out to the children who experienced the devastation wrought by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan.
Together, they made braided bracelets using rubber bands with the colors of the Philippine flag – red, yellow, and blue – called “Haiyan bracelets”. In two weeks, they raised over US$2,000 selling the $10 bracelets at events, online, and in their community. To date, their efforts have raised over US$100,000.
MTF has used this money to donate urgent school supplies in the form of uniform T-Shirts to two elementary schools in Tanauan, Leyte, San Roque Elementary and Santo Nino Elementary. Additionally, MTF will rebuild one school building with four classrooms at Maribi Elementary School in Tanauan, Leyte. (https://haiyanbracelets.wordpress.com)
Feed the Hungry (FtH) Description
Since MTF is not a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, it utilized Feed the Hungry, Inc. (“FTH”), located at 6419 Floridon Ct. Springfield, VA 22150, as its fiscal sponsor. FTH is a U.S. non-profit organization that conducts charitable activities in the Philippines. FTH held the funds raised for the Maribi Project as a restricted account within FTH to be released only upon the approval of Malaya and Tala’s mother, Amihan David and grandfather, Amado David. The FTH has granted the Malaya and Tala Fund under its stewardship of US$100,000 to Active Citizenship Foundation, Inc. (ACF), with the full agreement of Amado David and Amihan David to fund the Maribi Project.
Active Citizenship Foundation, Inc. (ACF) Description
Active Citizenship Foundation, Inc. (“ACF”), a charitable non-profit organization incorporated in Quezon City, Metro Manila is the secretariat of the relief efforts of Akbayanihan, which began just 3 days after Typhoon Yolanda hit. ACF administers the Maribi Project and works with the MTF Philippine representatives Geline Avila and Isabella Borgeson in Tanauan, Leyte. (see additional information in packet; http://www.acf.org.ph)
Emerging Architects Studio (EASt)
The architectural firm who designed the Maribi Project is Emerging Architects Studio (EASt), a multi-awarded firm established in 2012 by four young and passionate architects. It creates innovative designs and works based on a philosophical foundation rooted in economic, ecological, and social responsibility. (see additional information in packet; http://www.eastudio.ph)
The contractor, LUG Konstract of Marasbaras, Leyte, owned by Engineer Lehman Go, has exhibited a commitment to participate in the relief and rehabilitation of the Yolanda devastated areas by lending transportation equipment to ACF’s relief efforts, and now working with MTF and ACF in the construction of the MTF school building at Maribi Elementary School, as well as ACF projects in Samar and Leyte to build Barangay health stations and daycare centers. (telephone: 09178502300)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Since the MTF has a finite amount of US$100,000, Service Employees International Union will partner with MTF to fund the remaining cost of US$35,000. SEIU is a US based union with over 2.1 million members, including many US Filipinos. SEIU created a relief task force in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in order to fund rehabilitation projects in the affected areas. The grandfather of Malaya and Tala David, Amado David, is a member of SEIU’s special relief task force for Yolanda victims. (www.seiu.org)