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Philippines: Anonymous Blog Exposes Controversy

In a country where government budgetary allocation for education is steadily decreasing every year, shortages of classrooms, school tables, chairs, among others are the stuff of news every opening of classes. To cope with the lack of educational facilities, public schools often rely on donations.

Such was the case with the Sangat National High School of San Fernando, Cebu when a foundation headed by a former town resident now based in the U.S. donated books and computers to the school earlier this year.

Sadly, the beneficiary students of the southern Philippine municipality never got to benefit from the donations. What happened?

Photos uncovering the fate of the donations appeared online in the anonymous blog, Taga San Fernando[fil].


Dumped Books: Photo by Taga San Fernando used with permission.

Taga San Fernando explains:

Gi-donate ang maong mga computer, mga accessories, ug mga libro sa Bless of Mind Foundation nga gipangulohan sa taga San Fernando nga si Racquel Kristina Enad. Kini iyang gipadala alang sa Sangat National High School.

Kahinumdoman, ang maong mga computer, mga computer parts, ug mga libro miabot sa Cebu International Port (CIP) sa miaging May 15, 2008 gikan sa USA ug ang consignee mao ang Sangat National High School. Gisulod kini og tulo ka mga 40-footer nga mga container van.

Gipaguwa kini ginamit ang mga kontak ni Nonoy Reluya, ang bana ni Mayor Neneth Reluya sa San Fernando.

Ang nakaapan kay imbes i-turnover pagdiretso sa Sangat National High School, gidiretso kini sa pagdala as munisipyo ug gipilian sa mayor.

Dihang nireklamo ang principal sa Sangat National High School nga si Glenna Plarisan ug naabot sa media ang maong anomaliya, nasuko ang mayor ug iyang gipadala ang mga gipanghimulbulan nga mga donated items sakay sa mga dump truck ug igo lang giambak sa grounds sa maong high school.

The computers, accessories, and books were donated by the Bless of Mind Foundation headed by San Fernando resident Racquel Kristina Enad. These were intended for Sangat National High School.

The said computers, computer parts, and books arrived at the Cebu International Port (CIP) last May 15, 2008 from the USA with the Sangat National High School as consignee. These were contained in three 40-footer container vans.

These were released with the help of the contacts of Nonoy Reluya, husband of San Fernando Mayor Neneth Reluya.

However, instead of being turned-over directly to Sangat National High School, these were brought to the municipal hall where the mayor began picking for the good ones.

When Glenna Plarisan, the Sangat National High School principal, complained and this reached the media, the mayor got angry and ordered the donated items delivered in dump trucks and dumped on the grounds of the said high school.

The blog invited furious reactions with more than 400 comments posted. According to the blog owner, the deluge of responses resulted to the site's reaching its limits which led him to move his coverage of the issue to a second blog[en].

A case against the mayor is now pending at the Ombudsman Office. Meanwhile, a commenter posted the text of an email from one of the donors to Mayor Reluya's husband that defended the mayor. However, this only raised more questions:

* Why was there no proper turnover of the items to the schools in San Fernando?

* Your defenders say the pictures are exaggerated. Are they saying these were doctored? Are you denying that your people dumped the books on the ground? Are those not the town dump trucks that carried the computers that were obviously dis-assembled? For what? usable parts?

* Is this the way you turnover donated items to their beneficiaries?

For Mr. Steve Enad, don't you feel insulted by how the donations were handled when it arrived?

The pictures say more than a million words … please look at them closely.

8 comments

  • Scandalous!

  • […] Philippines: Anonymous Blog Exposes Anomaly looks at how photos posted by an anonymous blog uncovered a controversy in the donation of computers and books to a public high school in a province in central Philippines. […]

  • jann

    pitty those students who need educational tools to keep them updated, educated and useful in future time..why is my inquiry to those who benefited (not the true beneficiaries)from the tools they chopped!!! stop corruption!!!!stop your self motives and interest, think of other people who deserves to be educated and informed…

  • Steve Enad

    As i mentioned previously, Bless the Mind Foundation gave the Mayor of San Fernando the full authority to distribute the computers and books to whatever school that can used them including Sangat High School. Please let us put this issue to rest and instead let us focus our energy into finding ways to help out in action, rather than words.

    Let me put a challenge to the very concern bloggers. I am in the process of finding ways and finances to build more classrooms and libraries in Sangat. Our family will try to contribute half a million and I might be able to find a match for a million pesos… How about the bloggers and officials of both Sangat and San Fernando match the 1.5 million so we can build a nice facility for our students. That will be a more productive undertaking rather than what is happening now. I woud like to hear from you guys and see if you are willing to put money where your mouth is. Thanks, Merry Christmas to all and Godbless.

  • Neil Papas

    I think this issue on books and computer donation has been settled by the statement of no less than Steve Enad of the Bless of Mind Foundation. I hope all of you guys were able to read it. If you haven’t, try reading it.

    The lesson here is that while we are entitled to our own opinion, we are not entiled to be wrong on our facts.

  • malu de guzman

    hi there.
    i am now cleaning my attic and found lots of used / unused books . I want to donate this books because i know it will be very useful to others. Can you please let me know how to go about the donations.
    thanks.
    malu de guzman

    • Neil Papas

      Hi Malu,

      I don’t know where you are at present. Maybe you can ship the donation to:

      Mayor Lakambini G. Reluya
      San Fernando, 6018 Cebu, Philippines
      c/o Mrs. Lissa B. Papas
      Department of Education
      District of San Fernando
      San Fernando, 6018 Cebu, Philippines

      You need to course it through the Department of Education to enjoy tax incentives under Department of Finance (DOF) Order No. 137-87. The following link may give you an idea how to forward your donation to Mayor Lakambini Reluya.

      http://www.philcongen-toronto.com/faqs/19/donations-to-the-philippines

      Thanks,

      Neil

  • Neil Papas

    Alvin pangutan-a ang Principal nga si Plarisan kon ngano nga iya na gitanggong ang mga computers nga gi-donate ni Steve. Pangutan-a sad si Coning ug Neil sa ilang tuyo pag-gukod sa Mayor.

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