Written by: Ronabelle Bartolay

Barbaza National High School (BNHS) welcomed a significant addition to its facilities as the ABS-CBN Foundation (AFI) turned over a two-storey, eight-classroom building last September 19, 2023 in the Province of Antique. This turnover marks 10 years of AFI’s Legacy Projects, which began as a school rebuilding initiative in 2013.

The blessing and turnover ceremony was attended by key stakeholders from the local government of Antique, BNHS students, faculty, and staff, and representatives of ABS-CBN Foundation including Marcel R. Riñon, Sagip Kapamilya Program Head, and Rizal Pascual, Legacy Project Manager.

The multi-purpose building, designed to withstand winds of up to 270 kph and 7.2 magnitude earthquakes, doubles as classrooms and evacuation centers. The building is also equipped with a kitchen, shower rooms, and gender-specific toilets. Alongside the general Barbaza community, the Php 20-million project will benefit 1,797 learners, 55 Junior High School Teachers, 17 Senior High School Teachers, 2 provincial-provided ALS Senior High School Teachers, and 6 non-teaching staff.

“This will be a road, a tool, helping our learners realize their dreams. Kasi hindi lang po ito classroom. Isa po itong training ground. Hindi lang po Barbaza National High School ang mapagsisilbihan po ng building na ito, kundi lahat po ng komunidad sa Barbaza, dahil isa ito sa mga evacuation area namin,” expressed Dr. Maria Cozette A. Penaflorida, Secondary School Principal II, during the turnover.

This particular Legacy building is one among eight other projects strategically positioned in  disaster-prone areas in the Philippines. Before carrying the “Legacy Project” name, this initiative started with the construction of classrooms in the aftermath of Supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Since 2018, the project has evolved into the establishment of disaster-resilient school buildings.

Para sa kanila ito. Hindi ito para sa amin, hindi ito para sa ABS-CBN. Kami ay nagiging instrumento lamang; para bang conduit lang kami ng mga tao na naniniwala sa pagbabago, naniniwala sa kahusayan ng mga mag-aaral.” Marcel Riñon conveyed as a message to the beneficiaries.

Aside from key stakeholders from the Barbaza community, Riñon and Pascual also expressed their thanks to structural engineers and architects of SY^2 + Associates, Inc. and Casas + Architects who have donated their time to ensure the integrity of the Foundation’s Legacy Projects through quality designs.

The event ended with a tree planting activity to symbolize the Foundation’s belief in the intertwined importance of disaster risk reduction and management and environmental stewardship. Additionally, it also marks the beginning of a new chapter for BNHS.

True to its name, this Legacy Project stands as a testament to AFI’s commitment to supporting resilient communities and fostering bright futures for Kapamilyas in need.