Residents of Barangay Balete, Santa Fe, Nueva Vizcaya, and its surrounding communities have a new reason to rejoice. A new seven-classroom school building is set to rise at the heart of the barangay – just a stone’s throw away from the barangay hall. The said structure will replace the facilities of the Balete Primary School which have long been condemned as unsafe due to massive termite infestation.
The project is spearheaded by the Tan Yan Kee Foundation, in collaboration with the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. for the construction of four classrooms; the Provincial Government of Nueva Vizcaya, on the other hand, will finance the other three. The foundation also mobilized partners like University of the East (who will provide armchairs) Philippine Airlines, Globe Telecom, Team Energy, and local businessman Mr. Kauro Oba.
Completing the synergy of efforts through the spirit of “Bayanihan”, TYK also engaged the support of the Local Government Unit of Santa Fe, Balete Barangay Council, the Department of Education, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The groundbreaking of the new school site was preceded by a local rite involving the sacrifice of a fattened pig with its blood sprinkled on the ground. Highlight of the event was the lowering of a time capsule containing the building schematics and the site development plan. It was followed by the ceremonial planting of trees around the perimeter of the school site hoping to provide not only shade to the school but also protection against soil erosion. Some 500 seedlings of Mahogany, Narra, and Mangium Acacia donated by Mr. Kauro Oba, were planted.
Capping the day’s activities was a public hearing on the Municipal Council’s proposal in renaming “Balete Primary School” to “Tan Yan Kee Elementary School”. As expected, the move garnered the solid support of the residents who unanimously approved the proposal.
Present during the occasion were: Provincial Board Member and Chairman of the Committee of Education Edgar Daniel, representing Governor Luisa Cuaresma, Mayor Teodorico Padilla, Vice Mayor Tidong Benito, members of the Municipal Council, Barangay Captain Amador Martin, members of the Barangay Council, DepEd District Supervisor Mona Liza Cabato, DENR Project Management Officer Mildred Chengay, Mr. and Mrs. Kauro Oba, school head Alan Paclit, ALS Teacher Roderick Peralta, Philippine Airlines Environmental Affairs Officer Milagros Antofina, University of the East-College of Engineering Dean Dominador Pagbilao, Allied Bank Branch Head Jocelyn Llanda and her PNB counterpart Elizabeth Pineda.
In a special message, Mayor Padilla extended his profound gratitude to the Foundation and its Chairman and President Dr. Lucio Tan. He says that the soon to be constructed school building is a long awaited answer to the prayers of barangay residents and a gift that will benefit even the succeeding generations to come.