In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic that has changed the educational landscape of the Philippines, Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) in the town of Bataraza, Palawan, never ceased to provide support in various forms to schools, particularly those in far-flung areas.
Students and teachers struggle to cope with the blended learning mode set by the Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED). This learning mode poses a challenge to those who live in remote areas due to poor internet signals and a lack of resources to mass-produce students’ modules.
Bataraza’s Barangay Puring, a very remote village, is home to hundreds of school-aged children who belong to the Palaw’an tribe. The students in this village are into a modular mode of learning that requires a colossal volume of school supplies like bond papers and ink to reproduce modules. RTNMC provided 90 reams of bond papers and other school supplies to two elementary schools and two daycare centers to augment the scarcity of resources by the teachers.
In Barangay Taratak, the company provided P44,500 worth of solar home panels to the households of indigenous communities in Sitio Gamayon to help students in their studies.
“Sa ngayon may ilaw na ang mga bata habang nag-aaral sila ng modyul. Hindi na sila nahihirapan dahil maliwanag na kahit gabi,” said Arcilyn Ablan, tribal secretary of SItio Gamayon.
RTMC’s support to children’s education in the communities varies depending on the pressing need of students and teachers and is not only limited to school supplies.
The company donated P43,000 worth of Radio-Based Instruction (RBI) facility to Sarong Elementary School to support students who are members of the Palaw’an tribe.
RBI is an alternative mode of learning designed for students under the Alternative Learning System (ALS).
RTNMC also provided another set of RBI to Igang-igang Elementary School because the students find it challenging to go to school to pick up their modules as the parents are busy with their livelihoods.
Jennifer Cruz, a teacher at Igang-igang, believes that the support of RTNMC would be crucial in encouraging more students to continue their studies despite the struggles brought by distance and the current pandemic.
“Ito ay malaking tulong sa mga mag-aaral ng Igang-Igang Elementary School upang maipag-patuloy ang kanilang pag-aaral sa pamamagitan ng radyo. Ito ay malaking kagaanan sa mga mag-aaral, magulang at mga guro,” Cruz said.
Barangay Sandoval was a recipient of two computer units complete with printers and accessories to help the learners and teachers in the barangay.
The company even extended support to Tagpas Elementary School in Barangay Latud, Rizal town. This remote village is in the southwest part of Palawan and almost inaccessible due to its location. Students in the area received school supplies and other much-needed support.
RTNMC recognizes the role of education in ensuring a bright future for the children in the community, which is a compelling reason to continue the support.
“Tuloy-tuloy po ito nating ginagawa bilang bahagi ng ating efforts sa SDMP under education sector,” said Reynaldo Dela Rosa, community relations manager of RTNMC.