Certainly, she had painted the picture of the perfect schools in her dreams for the Division of Davao Occidental. In her own words she professed, “For once a teacher, I will remain a teacher.” Yes, she is a teacher by profession. Yet, she disembarked to the realm of politics and fortunately became the first elected Representative of Davao Occidental dubbed as the Province of Endless Possibilities.
Inspired by her great visionary father, Assemblyman Benjamin Velasco Bautista, Sr., the man who first conceived the existence of Davao Occidental, she opted for public service for her father’s vision to come to its full realization. Today, she carries on the vision. Yet now, for one of the country’s youngest provinces and it’s for the sake of pushing the quality of education.
“I pledge support to quality education.” This was her most precious pronouncement during her inaugural discourse and uttered this back on October 16 when she discussed with key DepEd officials of the Division regarding its response and action to education in the new normal.
This signifies her desire to better the quality of school life of the teachers and students including the parents in every school in the province. These, she swears, are the services she ought to complete in her term.
As the mother of the province, being its Representative, she felt the birth pains of the department. She saw the Schools Division Office (SDO) needed her support for it to function normally like the other divisions in Region XI. So, with her capacity, she provided the most needed facilities for the office.
First, the creation of the SDO building equipped with furniture and fixtures, covered court, and quarter for the Schools Division Superintendent. This has become operational since 2017.
Second, the provision of division vehicles: a Starex Van for the division personnel’s mobility, a Canter for supplies and equipment conveyance, a Coaster for teachers’ and learners’ service vehicle, and 10 motorcycle for the Public Schools Division Supervisors’ easy conduct of monitoring and evaluation to the different schools especially to the last mile schools.
Indeed, it will be awe-inspiring to soon be in fully-fenced schools, where children are united in the noble cause of back to gardening crusade to fight hunger and poverty with the sustainable food production through ‘earn and learn’ program.
It is a dream come true for the parents and teachers to work hand in hand to better their children’s education for a brighter future through Parents-Teachers Associations (PTAs) being transformed into cooperatives. Parents and Teachers are given livelihood programs as added source of income while guarding the school sites and serving foods to the learners from their very own produce.
As a start for the realization of this dream, she supported the fencing of schools in the province through the PTA as their project in support also to the Gulayan sa Paaralan which sustained the School Feeding Program of every school which caused the creation of the school feeding centers.
The indigenous communities in the upland areas, the underprivileged, and the underserved benefited. The provision of facilities that hardly were seen in the hinterlands were the primary delivery she extended, which includes the establishments of additional classrooms, computer laboratories, and audiovisual facilities along with the electrification.
Nothing could ever be more pleasing for the teachers than to be in a school where faculty buildings equipped with facilities are present aside from the teachers’ cottages, the mini-gyms designed with toilets and canteens, and the waiting sheds planted along the paved roads to schools. These are the school amenities that she had started to dispense in the neediest areas in the province.
While on the areas which are blessed with the supply of electricity, some 1,700 units of television sets were afforded to schools to animate lessons for Kindergarten to Grade 3 learners for a more engaging teaching and learning encounters.
The burdens that used to chastise teachers assigned to the far-flung areas were lightened through road widening and road construction.
It’s funny to note that teachers’ prime duty – the preparation of daily lesson plans has been part of her blueprint of unloading the teachers’ encumbrances to enjoy life to the fullest. Her realization of a more effective way of lesson preparation other than the usual tedious way of writing and rewriting them daily were altered with the modern alternative mode for the common interest of the teachers and school heads.
The good solon said, “I know the feeling because I was once a classroom teacher too. And my journey as a Representative will not be complete if our youth will not acquire opportunities for better funds and, in return, be able to give back services to the communities and become important instruments to countryside development.”
And so, the provision of scholarship to underprivileged and deserving students and the binding up with TESDA were her topmost expectations aside from the support to the welfare of the children; where sustainable and effective feeding program shall be initiated especially in the primary and intermediate level.
Furthermore, there’s nothing nobler than her aspiration for the preservation of the culture and heritage of the Province of Davao Occidental. Thus, soon a unique school of living tradition shall be established for the tribes of Tagacaulos, Manobos, B’laan and even to the community of Muslims; social awareness of the lumads.
With the little time she had spent in her position, she believed she has done her best to extend her services to her constituents. However, with her great desire to walk the extra mile, she feels she still can do more to better the quality of services of the Division.
This, she intends to procure more budget to sustain the needs particularly for the 20 items of nurses to be deployed to the 10 districts, 4 items for the security guards, and 2 items for the driver of SDO, more teaching and non-teaching items and additional school buildings for the different schools in need, increase the budget for the division operations, training center, and SDO Personnel’s cottage. These are the top priority needs of the SDO of Davao Occidental.
Her heart sees education as the prime root of success and progress of her province. This is the reason why she has all her support programmed for the DepEd Division of Davao Occidental. (By Doris Amabelle Emperador)
This is page 10-11 of DepEd Davao Dispatch 3rd quarter issue.