The Ateneo de Davao University (ADDU) conducted a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of an elementary school building in Barangay Dapnan in the Municipality of Baganga in Davao Oriental (DavOr) on 1st February 2014.  This planned construction is the second set of infrastructure projects which are being funded by the university, as part of its efforts to contribute in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Pablo-stricken areas in DavOr and Compostela Valley (ComVal). This construction project, as well as that of a high school building in Barangay Ngan in ComVal, are funded by the university through the University Engagement and Advocacy Council (UCEAC).  The Arrupe Office of Social Formation is the lead proponent of these two projects.  It also proposed and implemented the first set of rehabilitation projects done in Baganga in the wake of the implementation of its flagship exposure program, the Ateneo Student Exposure Program (ASEP) in the summer of 2013.

               The ground-breaking, which followed the ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), was done on behalf of the university by Atty. Romeo Cabarde of UCEAC, Ms. Lilibeth Arcena of the Arrupe Office, Mr. Karl Anthony Ebol of the Arrupe Office who is also the project manager, and Engr. Jonas Gallego, the project’s construction supervisor.  Also present were Ms. Delilah Rivera, the school principal of Dapnan Elementary School, Mr. Wilfredo Habana, president of its Parents Teachers Association (PTA), Dr. Raymunda Apostol, supervisor of Baganga North District, Hon. Andy Monday, barangay captain of Dapnan, and Fr. Darwey Clark, DCM, parish priest of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Lambajon.

          This ceremony was supposed to have taken place in early January but was postponed due to rough road conditions aggravated by the impact of tropical depression (TD) Agaton.  As a result, the project suffered logistical difficulties.  Because of a lack of local suppliers and an increase in prices, construction materials such as cement and steel will be purchased in Davao to be delivered by ADDU’s own truck. These materials will then be loaded in a boat that will cross rivers, then hauled again in another truck across before reaching Dapnan. It may be remembered that two of the bridges linking Mati and Baganga were destroyed by Agaton in early January.  Likewise, the hollow blocks that will be used in the construction will be made by the students and parents of St. Mary’s of Baganga as their income generating project (IGP), the proceeds of which will be used to fund the tuition fee of students affected by typhoon Pablo.

         Same as the high school building construction in Consuelo M. Valderrama (previously called the Ateneo de Davao Compostela Branch), this project is expected to be completed in sixty (60) days. These two constructions are implemented in the spirit and inspiration of this year’s bi-centenary celebration of the restoration of the Society of Jesus as a religious order in the Catholic Church. (By M. Isabel S. Actub, Arrupe Communications & Advocacy)