Sunday, 18 January 2009

Philippine Presidentkicks off Friday the govt’s pro-poor program with the Church

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will kick off this Friday at the Don Bosco Parish in Tondo the government’s pro-poor program for the year in cooperation with the Church.

The program continues the government’s template package of pro-poor projects, but with the Church identifying the beneficiaries from among the country’s poorest of the poor.

The package consists of feeding of identified malnourished children, medical mission for the sick in the community, a “botica sa barangay” for affordable generic medicines, vocational scholarships for interested out-of-school youth (OSY), and micro-finance for budding entrepreneurs.

The President is scheduled to visit the parish at 1:30 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 16), and will be met by Don Bosco School head Fr. Ferdinand Camilo, parish priest Fr. Eliseo Santos and Caritas Manila Executive Director Gr. Anton Pascua.

The parish covers 17 barangays with a total of 200,000 families in Barrio Magsaysay, Tondo.

Some 50 malnourished children, who were earlier identified by Caritas Manila, will partake of a meal funded by the Office of the President; while some 72 identified OSY will be awarded by the President with scholarships for job-ready courses at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

The medical mission shall cater to some 1,000 sick residents around the Don Bosco compound across the North Harbor.

The vocational school managed by the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) has 700 indigent students from Manila, Valenzuela, Navotas, Pasay and the provinces, according to Fr. Camilo.

The 10 courses take a total of 17 months – 12 months or one year for the theory and skills training, and five months for on-the-job training. Ready jobs await graduates as the school’s personnel office doubles as a placement office.

Fr. Camilo said the most in-demand are welding technology and automotive mechanic courses. The other courses offered are General Electrician Course, Fitter-Machinist Course, Industrial Electronics Course, Refrigeration and Aircondition Mechanic Course, Office Systems Technology, Garments Technology, Seafarer’s Rating Course and the Computer Technology Course.

The school spends P40,000 per student even as each student pays only P3,000 for the entire course at a staggered payment schedule of around P300 per month for the school uniform and other school requirements.

The school has been helping educate the indigent youth in the area and prepare them for gainful livelihoods for the past 40 years since 1968.

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