Tuesday, 26 June 2012

COMMENTARY: JPNHS Alumni Association: What it can do

Fish vendors at Larap public market … hoping to boost their daily income from increased sales. Catch is just enough to make their ends meet, that’s why they can’t meet other needs of the household such as healthcare and education of their children. – MWBuzzpic by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ

Editor, MWBuzz

THE NEXT general alumni homecoming of graduates from the Jose Panganiban National High School JPHS will be on 2017.

During this five-year period, there would be lots of things to happen – both bad and good – as far as the Mambulao community is concerned.

The new leadership of the JPNHS Alumni Association that was elected at the recent homecoming is now looking towards the next five years – what it can do to help the Alma Mater, the community and its marginalized people.

A flurry of emails has been circulating among alumni who are hoped to deliver the goods to the beneficiaries of its various social programs once the planned actions have taken off.

But right now, the leadership, which is being spearheaded by Jun Espana of the Pag-Ibig head office in Manila, is quite bogged down with the structure of the group that would carry out such projects.

As you well know, the alumni are spread across the globe and those who have the capability to help push the organization to success are actually not based right in Mambulao, owing to their occupations.

Those who are nearby – say, those who live in Metro Manila – are the ones making up the core of the group that would be planning the course of action to take to reach this goal of bringing a change in the lives of our less-privileged kababayan and at the same time helping the local government on the ground carry out its mandated programs.

The association has many capable members in the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and Middle East. Of course, the association runs precisely because there are members who are right here and have direct hand in carrying out its programs.

The presence of well-off members overseas could help a lot, considering their exposures to their own field of callings, which, in one or the other, could help formulate better plans – the doable plans. And financially, they could also help.

These are the alumni who are in their early 40s as well as those in their 60s – professionals who are now desirous of seeing progress in their hometown -- progress or signs of it -- that  they missed when they were young high school students at JPNHS and young workers back then.

By now, they have been enlisted to help.

A woman residing at one of the squatter shanties along the beach of Parang washes kitchen utensils from the breakfast table … she could do more for the family with a little business venture financed by cheap capital. – MWBuzzpic by ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ

First and foremost, the association is looking at providing a cheap source of small capital to qualified Mambulaons who would like to engage in income-generating activities, such as buying-and-selling, food processing, service enterprise, and food/vegetable production, just to name a few.

While the community of Jose Panganiban is bustling with commercial enterprises with the influx of overseas dollars from Mambulao OFWs as well as from those who are permanently residing overseas, we know that one sector is being left out, and this is the group who are living the hand-to-mouth existence.

Many of them may have finished high school at JPNHS but are just luckless to be able to pursue further education which prevented them from finding jobs that would generate a sustainable living.

And there’s more.

The community is plagued with the so called “out-of-school children”, a term coined by the good town mayor Ricarte Padilla.

He told me in one of our chats at his office that our community is crawling with “out-of-school children” and not just “out-of-school youth”.

And this makes him quite exasperated.

The first groups, Padilla explained, are those who were never in the classrooms from ages 2 to 14, simply because their families did not have the means to send them to school.

And because of this, when they finally joined the school system, everything would just be a waste.

This is because during the formative year of a child from age two to seven, he/she already lost the golden opportunity as a child to transform himself mentally and to acquire traits and characteristics that would help them became good persons and good citizens.

 At 14, there’s no more chance for him/her to acquire proper intellect that a classroom lessons could provide.

In the end, they would become a burden to the community.

On the other hand, the so-called “out of school youth” are those who had been in school – during the entire elementary and primary years and those who were in high school – but dropped out along the way due to poverty.

This group still has a big chance of going back on the right track of their lives as they could still be salvaged, rescued and reformed inside the classrooms.

And maybe, when they finished the basic education, they can acquire work skills that would land them a good-paying job.

The municipal government of Jose Panganiban is now trying to address all this.

But of course, Padilla is not only concentrating on cementing the roads across the municipality.

It is also trying to encourage potential investors to come to Mambulao and put their money there so that such enterprises could generate jobs for the many jobless locals

Padilla told me our community has a wealth of labor, but it has become a waste because these men and women don’t have the work skills, thus rendering them unproductive.

He is also addressing this.

Without really being told, the JPNHS Alumni Association could realign its emerging priorities and be in tune with Padilla’s program while they are still being hatched to be in tune with the actual situation in the community: hand-to-mouth existence by the many and unproductive labor mass.

To me, the JPNHS can’t afford to operate on the other side of the common fence.

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