KABACAN, NORTH COTABATO — Concerned about the plight of students in her town, Sampaguita Derecho Martin will always make a  way to squeeze in her tight schedule a time to visit students candidates for drop out, encouraging them the future that awaits should they get a degree in college.

The 55-year-old teacher Kilagasan, Kabacan town in the province of North Cotabato, has been chosen by the Department of Social Welfare and Development 12 as Regional Pantawid Focal nominee for her remarkable undertakings, including reaching out to non government organization to solicit school supplies for students in poverty-stricken areas.

Her colleagues, friends and love-ones described Ms. Martin a selfless woman for taking great effort in pursuit for the future of students in their small farming village.

The agency’s choice to nominate her for the National Partnership Summit was based on reflection of her achievements in their community. In the case of Ms. Martin, her selection was also about the values she represents. 

“She was reaching out to the learners through the Conduct home visitation to pupils, especially those who are candidate for drop-out to encourage them to continue attending school and do their best to catch-up with the lesson they have missed and reminded them as well as their parents of the importance of education,” DSWd 12 regional compliance verification officer Kyzyl Salvador said.

“We pick her as our nominee this year because she is also one of the most active member of the Parents-Teachers Association which is a school based organisation with a mission to make the school a better place for children to learn,” she added.

In the last four years, through her own initiative called Bayanihan Parent Involvement of Movement, Ms. Martin has been tapping parents of her students to help in maintaining beautification of their school areas such as Science Park, Herbal Garden, Gulayan sa Paaralan, Materials Recovery Facility, School Nursery, Peace Park, Math Park and other areas within School Premisses.

This upcoming school opening, she was actively participating in the House-to-house campaign for early registration of students in a bid to  increase the number of student enrolees. 

Being honored and nominated by the agency for the national summit, Ms. Martin said she will not stop what she has been doing on the ground that focuses on the needs of students.

“School environment like beautification, orderly placement of buildings and parents academic support for their children resulted to a well-ventilated and good ambience for the learners to learn,” Ms. Martin said. 

Moreover, she Initiated a memorandum of agreement for  Project Ahon where donors will adopt pupils, particularly those covered by the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, for minimal scholarship grant that helped cover students  fees at school.

According to Naifah Sarip Balindong, regional coordinator of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, said Martin’s personal venture as education focal not only covered the education aspect but serving as their school’s nutrition coordinator.  

“She monitors the Health and nutrition of pupils through supplemental feeding program including the conduct of deworming activities,” Balindong said.

Balindong cited other interventions where Ms. Martin was involved. This include Pagbasaam, Pagsiatak, an activity  where teacher share/donate reading books to less fortunate pupils (mostly Pantawid Beneficiaries) who are eager towards reading yet don’t have story books at home and let them develop their reading skills; Sya Ka, Mangagi Ta — the school exerted efforts in encouraging and monitoring of Muslim learners within the 3 Madrasah Situated in Brgy. Kilagasan;  Hot off Knowledge In Pages – a home of powerful papers such as books that gear us up the pupils with the knowledge that they need to be able to face the world head on an books to be read to improve pupil’s reading abilities; and Project DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education – an intervention where the PNP chosen Kilagasan Elementary School recipient which main goal is to teach effective peer resistance and to strengthen refusal skills of Filipino youth so they can say “NO” to trying and using drugs. (JBM/DSWD 12)