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 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.