One year after Yolanda, the ‘new’ Old Sagay Elementary School rises again

The Old Sagay Elementary School has two new, disaster-resilient buildings, with a combined total of 13 classrooms.

The Old Sagay Elementary School has two new, disaster-resilient buildings, with a combined total of 13 classrooms.

The onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) on November 8, 2013, brought severe damage, if not complete destruction, to over 3,000 public schools in the Visayas.

A year later, efforts to repair—or build better—have led to the construction of disaster-resilient school buildings.

One of the areas where students and teachers can now enjoy a safe, disaster-resilient learning environment is Sagay City, Negros Occidental.

On November 8, 2014, the City Government of Sagay, the Department of Education–Sagay City Division, Ayala Foundation, and various donors and partners are inaugurating two new buildings for the Old Sagay Elementary School.

The two new buildings have a total of 13 classrooms, and are also equipped with emergency alarm systems, kitchens, and showers. Taking the principle of “building better” to heart, the school buildings have two stories, and can withstand over 300 kph of winds.

The construction of the classrooms was made possible with the support of Mitsubishi Corporation, Manila Water Company, BPI/MS Insurance Corporation, SGV Foundation, Factoran and Associates, and Bonifacio Global City and Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation.

“We are grateful for the commitment of our partners and donors to this project,” says Maria Lourdes Heras-de Leon, president of Ayala Foundation. “This undertaking would not have been possible without the leadership of the city government and the DepEd Sagay, the trust of our donors, and the welcoming of the people of the community.”

The construction of the school buildings is just one component of Ayala Foundation’s integrated approach to post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation. The organization also brings its Text2Teach and Training Institute programs to Sagay and Cadiz—programs that both harness technology and teacher-skills upgrading.

Another part of the strategy to rebuild, recover, and revitalize the area is to bring in Sustainable Livelihood programs. In January this year, the foundation turned over 107 boats for fishing families in Suyac Island, Sagay; and Cadiz City, Negros Occidental. The foundation also extended its support to the livelihood of the farmers of Negros Occidental by enabling organic farming in the province. In Cadiz City, seeds were turned over to rice and vegetable farmers. By providing seeds and fertilizers, AFI hopes to help rehabilitate an estimated 200 hectares of farmland.

Ayala Foundation did not only focus its Yolanda-related initiatives in northern Negros Occidental. It also provided Sustainable Livelihood interventions in Javier and Tacloban, Leyte. These interventions took the form of the distribution of 50 pedicabs for drivers who lost a source of livelihood; the provision of 20 Hapinoy Sari-Sari Stores for women in Tacloban and Javier; and the distribution of plantlets and fertilizers in Javier, which would benefit 148 farmers and their families.

The foundation is also working closely with Ayala Land in rehabilitation work in Northern Iloilo. While Ayala Land is in charge of the construction of homes, Ayala Foundation is providing long-term intervention in Education and Sustainable Livelihood in the area, particularly in the towns of Estancia and Carles, to help set them on the path to recovery.

To date, Ayala Foundation, has raised PhP94.17 million for its relief, rehabilitation, and recovery of selected Yolanda-devastated communities.

The Ayala group of companies, through its Bulig Bisaya Initiative, has invested over PhP400 million for post-Yolanda relief, recovery, and rehabilitation.

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