Simultaneous with the conduct of the Ateneo Student Exposure Program (ASEP) from 25th March-7th April 2013 in the municipality of Baganga, Davao Oriental (DavOr), the Arrupe Office of Social Formation (formerly the Social Involvement Coordinating Office [SICO]) proposed to the University Community Engagement and Advocacy Council (UCEAC) post-Pablo rehabilitation and reconstruction projects that would address immediate and essentials needs of its partner communities.  These projects are intended for the following communities in Baganga: Sitio Marquez in Brgy. Campawan, Upper Mikit in Brgy. Mikit, Brgy. Ban-aw, and Brgy. Lambajon.  These communities are chosen based on Arrupe’s area scanning of possible partner communities/institutions that would assist not just in implementing the ASEP, but more importantly in providing the overall formative experience of the program participants as they immersed in these areas.

With the final approval of the Office of the President on 23rd April 2013, the proposed projects to be implemented in these four areas are the following: Rehabilitation and reconstruction of selected classrooms and day-care centers, as well as distribution of school-kit items for day-care pupils and teaching materials for day-care teachers in Brgy. Mikit, Brgy. Campawan and Brgy. Ban-ao, in time for the opening of School Year 2013-2014; provision of solar charging facilities in Brgy. Mikit and Brgy. Campawan; and the rehabilitation of wet and dry market in Brgy. Lambajon. These projects are identified as essential to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of these communities—in areas that took a heavy pounding from Tropical Storm (TS) Pablo in December of 2012.       The overall project, as proposed by the Arrupe (acting as the lead office) will be funded by the UCEAC, and Zuellig Family Foundation, a donor (covering the rehabilitation of the classroom and day-care center in Brgy. Mikit), and will be executed through the support of selected offices in the university.  The overall coordinator of the project is Mr. Karl Anthony Ebol, Arrupe’s Community Engagement Officer (CEO). There is an expected community counterpart that will form part of the implementation, and this will be specified and stipulated in the memorandum of agreement (MOA) to be forged between the university and these identified partner communities.

It may well remembered that in the aftermath of TS Pablo, the Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) mounted an integrated relief operation that catered to the needs of devastated communities particularly in the areas of Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.  Shortly afterwards, and along with the assistance of providing essential needs such as food, water, medicine, shelter and other relief goods, it also deployed other forms of assistance through medical missions, psychosocial interventions, as well as infrastructure support such as the deployment of solar charging facilities to a total of twenty-four (24) selected communities in both provinces.

 On the part of Arrupe, it decided that the locus of this year’s ASEP will be the municipality of Baganga. It is a move that specifically addressed the challenge of providing more relevant and fitting venue of exposing student leaders and student volunteers to the realities of communities affected by such large-scale disaster. The choice of Baganga is also crucial in the context of observing how the municipality took to efforts of risk management and risk mitigation. In close coordination with the Sacred Heart Parish of Lambajon–through Fr. Darwey P. Clark–the Arrupe partnered with these selected communities because their profiles answered the specific needs of the program considered as vital in its implementation.

 The implementation of these projects is expected to begin as soon as possible. (By M. Isabel S. Actub, Arrupe Communications & Advocacy)