AT least one hundred public school students from Baclayon National High School in Bohol province will receive new bicycles from a non-government organization as a means of transportation in going to school.
Joel Uichico Jr., president of the Bikes for the Philippines Foundation, Inc., said the bicycles will only be given to qualified and deserving Grade 7 (first year high school) students as part of the Bikes for Education project.
“The project was conceptualized in 2010. In other provinces, the school is still very far. The students will have to travel very far, especially in the far-flung barrios [villages],” Uichico said during the formal signing of the memorandum of agreement on Friday between the Department of Education (DepEd).
“The project aims to address the decrease in dropout rates in the provinces,” he said.
For his part, Education Secretary Armin Luistro, said students should have physical access to school.
“We [at DepEd]want quality education more accessible to every Filipino student. That’s another big challenge for us to provide them safe and eco-friendly means of transportation,” Luistro told reporters.
“Pinipili natin yung mga estudyante na talagang may higit na pangangailangan. At kung saan safe yung kanilang dadaanan magmula sa bahay papuntang eskwelahan,” he added.
The DepEd chief also noted that they prioritize students who have a hard time in going to school and are at high risk of dropping out.
“Ito yung ating priority, pero titingnan natin kung matapos natin itong mga mayroong ganito na . . . baka yung iba pa na mas nahihirapan pumunta sa eskwelahan pwede natin tignan kung pwede silang mabigyan ng pagkakataon,” Luistro said.
Luistro said the project cost is P600, 000 which includes warehouse, meals of volunteers and mechanics for the repair of some bicycles and other logistics expenses.
According to him, the 100 bicycles were donated by the United States through the Bikes for the Philippines Foundation, Inc.
“Yung P600, 000 ito yung shipping, housing, repair ng mga bisikleta ay walang bayad dahil ito ay donated din mula sa United States at ito ay mga used bicycles actually,” Luistro said.
The DepEd chief also assured that the bicycles have helmets before distributing it to the students.
“Hindi kami nagbibigay ng bisikleta ng walang helmet,” Luistro added
Initially, about 150 student-beneficiaries from Bohol province have already been given bicycles.
Uichico said they brought in the first bicycles in 2011.