February 26, 2024

The Department of Education-Cordillera in partnership with stakeholders is planning to build a dormitory for disadvantaged learners in the region.

DepEd-Cordillera Director Estela Cariño said the program aims to construct a two-story dormitory for learners who do not have a place to stay while studying and working.

Cariño said the housing project, under the Hope Opportunities Might and Education (HOME) for the learners’ program will initially benefit 63 learner-beneficiaries who were recommended by schools, schools division offices, and a committee.

The beneficiaries for 2023 to 2024 school year came mostly from Benguet schools: 10 from Puguis Elementary School, Benguet National High School (NHS) Main – 18, Buguias NHS – 10, and five students each from Puguis NHS, La Trinidad NHS, Ampucao NHS, and Manganese Integrated School, while five learners were identified from Mountain Province in Dalican Elementary School.

However, the 63 learners would still be further assessed according to their needs.

Parameters in the selection of beneficiaries are: interested learners who are not necessarily academically excellent, indigent learners, and supportive parents to the project.

“That’s why we need to have a memorandum of agreement with these learners and another would also be with the LGU, where these learners come from, who should be supportive because we do not like to have a problem also with them,” Cariño said. 

Initially the Benguet State University through President Felipe Comila verbally agreed to provide the lot for the building of the dormitory. Cariño said the terms of the MOA is being formulated before signing.

She said if the program is successful in Benguet, it will be expanded to other provinces.

The program is under the regional office’s flagship program Salaknib Tan Namnama, an Ibaloy term meaning “protecting and giving hope”, which is aimed to raise hope and restore self-worth among learners in the Cordillera who had undesirable history due to troubling experiences.

The program has two aspects: the infrastructure support which is the repair and construction of classrooms, project Handog kay Juana, and home for the learners. The other component is the support to learners, which is the provision of supplies, guidance and counseling services, and cash; project Kalinga (care), and scholarship program.

Cariño said the project was inspired by the success of Project Class Home, a program which she initiated when she was the head of Deped-Region 2, and the vehicular accident in Buguias, Benguet which took the life of mostly high school learners. She said the DepEd-Cordillera is open to partnerships with organizations and individuals who would like to assist their programs to help learners in the region, especially those who do not have the same opportunities as other learners due to unfavorable situations in their lives.  – Ofelia C. Empian