(Speech delivered during the Bayanihan Stakeholders Forum in Big 8 Corporate Hotel, Tagum City on August 27, 2019)

I want to thank everyone who came here today most especially to our private partners. As always, thank you for answering our call to build better schools and consequently, better futures for our children. In behalf of the people of Compostela Valley, I want to express my deepest gratitude to each one of you today. Gikan sa among mga kasingkasing, daghang salamat!

It is very telling that this Bayanihan Stakeholders’ Forum happened on the day after the National Heroes Day. I consider it providential because it is a soft reminder that to be a hero goes beyond the Heroes Day. If you also notice, our event, the Bayanihan Stakeholders Forum bears the word “bayani”. Needless to say, this day and the days to come are our chance to be heroes for others.

As you all know, this Stakeholders Forum is not the first. On many occasions, we’ve asked the help of our partners in all our bayanihan initiatives. We started with building houses for the victims of tragedies namely Masara landslide in 2009 and the devastating Typhoon Pablo in 2012. We expanded to helping our schoolchildren to read in 2013 through the Bayanihan para sa Karunungan and the Kusina ng Kalinga in 2016 that feeds undernourished schoolchildren all around the province.

The Bayanihan para sa Paaralan also isn’t new endeavor. We’ve worked hand in hand in rebuilding our classrooms destroyed by Typhoon Pablo. Through our efforts, we’ve built enough classrooms for all of our schoolchildren. This 2019, we’ve gave life to this program for a different purpose- to build classrooms for our province’s Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas employing the whole of nation approach, bringing together the different segments and sectors for a common and collective purpose.

Our GIDA’s are in dire need of help. Not only are these communities far from the center of governance, commerce and business, they are also long-affected by conflicts, oftentimes used by some groups who wish to take advantage of our children’s innocence and their families’ vulnerabilities.

Last May, we first responded to this call through a Bayanihan Build in two communities in Compostela- in Sitio Puting Bato in Ngan and Side 4 in Mangayon, Compostela. We were able to built one unit building with two classrooms for each community for only twenty days, defying all odds. Our experience in those areas is a living testament that no rough road or excruciating heat can beat our resolve and determination.

We can’t and will not rest our laurels. There are still a lot of communities in need of schools. Next month, because and through your help, we will build five better schools namely in Side 4 in Mangayon, Compostela to further accommodate more students there, in Panansalan in Compostela, in Pagsabangan and Manurigao in New Bataan and in Sitio Sapang Tin-aw, Tibagon, Pantukan.

These schools once built will also be part of the Universal Feeding Project of the Kusina ng Kalinga. This means that students will receive a daily ration of free lunch, nutri-bread and a glass of milk. To further supplement the feeding program of the province, Gulayan sa Paaralan will be actively pursued. Teachers’ cottage will also be built for the convenience of teachers who will be stationed in these schools.

The building of schools is part of our greater effort to secure a better future to all our children most especially those living in the highlands. To share an anecdote, during the turn-over in Side 4, a Lumad leader approached me and said, “mamaayo na gyud ang among kinabuhi tungod aning eskwelahan”.

For our brothers and sisters in the mountains, schools are not just places of learning; they are also symbols of hope and a brighter future. The act of building a school therefore takes a whole new different meaning. It is not just helping to build a better school; it is also helping build a better and brighter future for them.

As I always say in my speeches, if we are serious in solving our country’s problems, we must begin in investing in our youth. There is no better way to do that than to build better schools, schools that will teach them that their knowledge belongs to their families and communities, schools that will not take away their innocence, schools that will teach them the ways of peace, schools that will build, not destroy and will allow them to dream and reach new horizons.

Today, we will commit ourselves to this greater purpose. I, too, will do the same. As what I’ve promised, I will dedicate each day as governor in ensuring that our children enjoy a future they deserve- one that is brighter, better and golden.

I am Jayvee Tyron Uy, Governor of Compostela Valley (soon to be Davao de Oro), and I commit to build better schools and better futures for our children.

Daghang Salamat!

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