UST Simbahayan helps fund school for Lumad in Zamboanga de Sur

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UST Simbahayan Director Mark Abenir (leftmost) during the turnover ceremonies for the construction of the alternative schools. Photo by Miah Terrenz Provido

WITH the support of the UST Simbahayan Community Development Office, the first alternative school for Grade 7 to senior high school students for the Lumad in Zamboanga del Sur will soon rise.

The National Service Training Program, under UST Simbahayan, donated P378,000 last Feb. 28 to Barangay Lipatan at Josefina town in Zamboanga del Sur for the construction of the school.

UST Simbahayan Director Mark Anthony Abenir said the beneficiary from Zamboanga del Sur was chosen to support the cause against the militarization of Lumad communities.

“During that time, mainit yung issue [ng mga] Lumads, maraming mga schools nila ang sinira [at] in-occupy ng mga militar. At alam natin na ‘yung advocacy nila ay napaka-importante,” Abenir told the Varsitarian.

Percinita Sanchez, executive director of Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc., said the alternative school would be the first in Zamboanga del Sur.

“First ever alternative school ang itatayo natin sa Zamboanga with your funds, for Subanen,” Sanchez said during a turnover ceremony last Feb. 28 at the Office of Student Affairs conference room.

The foundation has 1,410 students, 25 campuses and 78 community educators, Sanchez said.

It is a department of the Mindanao Interfaith People’s Conference established by Mindanao Catholic bishops in 1983.

The ceremony was held to formally donate 70 percent of the proceeds of the “Unending Race Fun Run” held last April 10, 2016. The other 30 percent went to student organization projects.

“Unending Race” Chairman Paul Castillo said the efforts of the students paid off through the construction of classrooms.

Abenir noted that Zamboanga del Sur is the UST Simbahayan’s first non-Luzon partner community.

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