• By The Financial District


Updated: Apr 25

Classmates in elementary and high school in the coastal town of San Fabian, Pangasinan have banded together to help a school in an upland community dubbed Gumot, address basic necessities and the challenges of the Covid -19 in education in what could be a new template for helping communities challenged by the lack of basic necessities and of an anchor to level up their income.

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The Batch 63 of San Fabian Elementary School and Batch 67 of San Fabian High School unveiled what its Vice President Ret. US Navy Lt. Reynaldo de Guzman, of San Diego, California, proposed as a legacy project during a reunion that the classmates had two Januarys ago and have so far succeeded in their efforts to help the depressed upland community.

A month ago, after a daunting year of finding a water source, the legacy project turned up successful after hitting a spring and water flowed to the delight of the school’s head Marissa Sapitula and which Police retiree Federico Punzalan said was a miracle since the water source was tapped in summer. With that, the water was piped to the school premises with funding support from another US military retiree Eliseo Santos.

That artesian well project was conceived when the batchmates from San Fabian were told of the hardships that pupils had to endure, that of fetching water from 50 meters down the road, just to clean the premises. Thus, they pooled their resources and began the project with the late Cipriano Pediglorio spearheading the effort. Elsie Encarnacion, Luis Landingin, retired General Freddie de Vera, Eliseo Ferraro, Florencia Saludes, Joe Reyes Jr., Dr. Rustico Lomibao were among the early funders.

And while the artesian well project was under way, the batchmates zeroed in on the challenges that the pandemic has poked on the education of the pupils and there followed a parade of needed requisites for the production of modules such as laptops, printer, coupon bonds, and moral support and even new slippers for the pupils and their parents.

The support for the legacy project has so far been exponential with Nelly Patungan de Guzman being able to bring in to the fold for funding support US-based classmates Belenda Narvasa Davies, Star Narvasa Clemente, Cecille Aquino Deschamp, Freddie Velasco, Conrad Bautista. The funds accounted for the completion of the artesian well.

This new template can be adopted by other batchmates from other schools and other provinces since this could very well start a novel initiative that allows graduates to pitch in towards a new beginning for the education of their province mates and ensure that the pupils will have their self-worth intact, their need for education assured and thereby look forward to levelling up the family’s income.

There is a postscript to this new template and right now, there has been a snowballing move to help other depressed upland communities in San Fabian with generous support even from those who are not residents. And here, the help is now touching other schools as a new group effort has sprouted from the Batch 63 and 67 classmates.

Reynaldo de Guzman again conceived a group, Friends of San Fabian Communities, to serve as a link between those who want to be of help and those that need help. And so far, the group has been able to touch the hearts of many who first responded well to the Batchmates’ legacy challenge and are now into supporting schools in upland communities, among others.

There is Alfredo Tutaan from California, Vienna Diuco from Sta. Maria, Bulacan, Jocy Pallasigui from Ontario, Canada, Gerry “Ardee” Urbina from Greenhills, Mike Nolan Olalia from Valle Verde, Retired Col. Yollie Gemzon, Anjo Pallasigui, Ian Pallasigui, Dzerizza Galsim, Procy Galsim, Melchora Arnado, a Tito Angel, and Michelle Arriola, among other first responders.

So far, the Friends of San Fabian Communities has distributed four printers, slippers to three school communities, storage boxes and coupon bonds and for distribution next week are two printer’s courtesy of Mr. Urbina, slippers from Familia Pallasigui, and cash donations for the needy schools.

The Friends of San Fabian Communities is spearheaded by Geronima Gigi Gagni Ringor as admin, who is helped by Marissa Sapitula, Marina Baltazar Doctolero, Asuncion Basbas Edith Laborce, Glenda Aspiras, Madonna Mayugba Tamayo, Dionisia Imbuido, and Amabel Miranda, educators all, and Hipolito U. Gagni and Reynaldo de Guzman.

The teachers and other members of the core group of Friends of San Fabian Communities pass upon the requests of those schools that need help and are in charge of rotating the funding support for those in need. An auditor is also being named.


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