“We live in a society where information can be obtained at the push of a button. These days, the speed with which we can produce, share or receive data spells the difference between moving at an average pace and functioning at a competitive level”, was how City Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan explained the importance of computer literacy in today’s world.

Knowing how this skill is in-demand both in school and the workplace, the City Government has forged a partnership with a Manila-based non-profit organization that gives free computer classes to interested individuals.

Through a partnership with the Aihu Foundation, the City Government of Catbalogan has brought the Van Aralan Project to the City to address the gap in computer literacy among Catbaloganons. “This is what today’s workplace is in need of. This is the kind of edge that our students, graduates, jobhunters or employees must have in order to perform well in their chosen fields”, she said.

After a well-received registration period weeks prior, the said project was launched at the City Plaza this September 27, 2014. City Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan led the activity together with Aihu Foundation President Alex S.E. Sy and his wife CEO Mila Sy. Hon. Coefredo Uy, Hon. Ernesto Arcales, and Hon. Maximo Pescos were among the city officials who graced the affair to show their support for the project.

They were joined by other special guests including Mayor Gemma P. Zosa from the Municipality of Sta. Margarita, which was where the project was previously implemented; TESDA Provincial Director Rolando Juanillo, who represented TESDA Regional Director Cleta Omega; Ms. Corazon S. Abella, who represented Department of Education Regional Director Luisa B. Yu and City Division Supervisor Ms. Maribel Ruedas, who attended in behalf of OIC-City Division Superintendent Editha S. De Veyra.

The Van Aralan Project is a mobile computer school that conducts free classes in towns and cities that they visit. In Catbalogan City, registration of out-of-school youths, persons with disabilities and senior citizens were given priority.

“Labis kong ikinatuwa ang pagdagsa ng maraming Catbaloganon – kabilang na ang mga estudyante, mga out-of-school youths, maging ang mga Persons with disabilities at mga senior citizens upang magparehistro sa isasagawang training,” she said about this turn-out which she credited to the coordination among barangay officials and the city’s community facilitators.

 Ipinapakita nito ang inyong interes na mapabuti pa ang inyong pamumuhay at ang inyong kagustuhang mapabuti ang inyong sarili sa pamamagitan ng karagdagang kaalaman sa computer. Higit sa lahat, dito ay napatunayan nating hindi balakid ang kahirapan upang magsumikap na maiangat ang kalagayan ng isang tao,” she added.

Speaking in behalf of the Division of Catbalogan City, Ruedas said that the project is an “avenue of quality education” for Catbaloganons “with the aim of transforming them or continuously improve their ability to be globally competitive”.

The container truck which houses the mobile class is supposed to stay in Catbalogan City for a total of nine weeks from September 29 until November 29. The registrants shall be divided into 5 classes consisting of 20 participants, which shall run for a total of three weeks. Upon completion of the course, a trainee will receive a certificate of completion from TESDA.

Mayor Step also lauded the partnerships that were made with various agencies to jumpstart the project. Aside from the Dep. Ed. and TESDA, she also thanked the Samar Electric Cooperative II for providing the electricity and Aksyon Radyo – DYMS for helping disseminate information about the project.

“To sum up this whole endeavour, the Van Aralan Project is the latest feather in our cap of public-private partnerships. As with our previous activities, it has once again proven that tapping the different segments of our community is the best way to serve our people”.


(Article by Ms. Lai Minh Mabulay; Photos by Paulus Aragon)

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