BATANES, Philippines – For the municipal mayor of Sabtang in Batanes, it’s a no-brainer that bringing the youth back to school requires local funding support.
It’s just a matter of whether local leaders have the political will to do so.
“Huwag naman tayong masyadong tipid sa pagbigay ng suporta financially sa mga ito (Let’s not be too tight-fisted when it comes to financially supporting the out-of-school youth),” Sabtang Mayor Maxilindo Babalo urged other local government units.
For 2015, the Sabtang municipal government allotted a supplemental budget of P200,000 ($4,492.70) to fund the municipality’s Abot Alam program, which provides interventions on education, entrepreneurship, or employment for out-of-school youth ages 15 to 30.
This is almost double the budget that has been provided so far by the Department of Education (DepEd) to run the program in the whole of Batanes.
“Yung allocation for division fund is P110,000 [$2,470.99] for the 6 municipalities. Given the price of basic commodities this year, talagang hindi magkasya,” said Florante Vergara, DepEd Batanes assistant schools division superintendent.
(The allocation for division fund is P110,000 for the 6 municipalities. Given the price of basic commodities this year, it is really not enough.)
Even with its limited budget, Batanes is the first province in the country to achieve a zero out-of-school youth status – and in just 3 months after the program was launched in December 2014.
A total of 574 out-of-school youth were mapped and enrolled. Of this number, 77 Abot Alam learners come from the island of Sabtang.
While fishing and farming remain the main sources of livelihood in the municipality, tourism is also booming in the island.
Abot Alam learners in Batanes are after functional skills such as tour-guiding and souvenir-making so they can make the most out of the influx of tourists. (READ: Ivatan mom learns welding to escape poverty)
DepEd Undersecretary Mario Deriquito said Batanes will receive more funding this year to maintain what the province has achieved so far, and to keep future high school graduates from being idle and unemployed.
Babalo also committed to allot P400,000 ($8,985.40) from its 2016 budget for Abot Alam, pending approval from the Sangguniang Bayan of Sabtang.
Deriquito lauded the local government of Sabtang for its “deep concern and care” for the out-of-school youth. (READ: The Ivatan boy who wants to be a carpenter)
“Mahalagang-mahalaga po na sa Abot Alam, magpakita ng leadership ang local government. Parang sinasabi ng local government, ito project namin, kasi yung mga kabataan ay aming mga constituents, aming mga mamamayan. It is important that the local government takes ownership [of] the program…and puts in resources to show its commitment.”
(It’s very important in Abot Alam that local government shows leadership. It’s as if the local government is saying ‘This is our project, because the youth are our constituents, our citizens.’ It is important that the local government takes ownership [of] the program…and puts in resources to show its commitment.)
To date, a total of 412,000 learners nationwide are already registered under the Abot Alam program. The vision of the program is to see a Philippines with no out-of-school youth. – Rappler.com
1 US$ = P44.52
There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.