On June 21, 2008, typhoon Frank lashed Aklan and some other parts of Panay. One area particularly hard hit was General F. Castillo Memorial School in Mabilo, Kalibo, Aklan. The Gabaldon Building built in the early 1930’s in memorial to the leader of the XIX martyrs of Aklan was devastated by the storm. The building is situated close to where the Katipunan met under a Dao tree and so marks a historic site.
In the attempt to rebuild the damage and the unusable building, Ms. Rosalinda A. Malbas, principal of the school and her late husband, Mr. Hidson Malbas, former teacher at Gen. F. Castillo Memorial School approached Spouse Frank and Tessie Kennedy for assistance. A meeting of community leaders and other interested persons was held in late December, 2008. In that meeting, it was decided to hold a public meeting to determine the will of the people.
A public meeting was held on January 11, 2009, at the school grounds with more than 100 adults including the Barangay Council and PTCA officers attending.
It was decided to form a committee to raise funds for the school and advocate for the rebuilding of the school. Ms. Tessie Kennedy was elected chair person, Ms. Gwen Salamanca and Engr. Lhudy Cuatriz – co-vice chairpersons, Ms. Gloria Colendres – secretary, and Ms. Amalia Zubiaga – treasurer.
The first action of the committee was to offer support to the principal, Ms. Rosalinda Malbas in the application to the Department of Education for the reconstruction of the building. Various engineering reports, budget, and recommendations were for-mulated and approved.
In the meantime, the committee raised P91,000 to be spent for the school. At the induction program of the committee officers in early 2009, Aklan Governor Carlito S. Marquez through his representative committed P50,000 to the project despite of the fact that every school construction is not a provincial matter. He also contacted the Chinese Chamber of Commerce to help the school. Gov. Marquez is certainly to be commended for his assistance.
The meeting of the executive committee with Dr. Victorina S. Laroza, Department of Education, Schools Division Superintendent of Aklan was held.
On April 12, 2010, Dr. Laroza reported she had not yet visited Gen. F. Castillo Memorial School. She related that she was involved in a tragic accident on the highway that leads to the school. She did though say that as soon as Ms. Rosalinda Malbas – principal of Gen. F. Castillo Memorial School completed and submitted the necessary documents, work would begin. In fact, Dr. Laroza said that the committee would be happy with the progress made by next October 2010.
But there is a turn of event. Malbas came to the Kennedy residence for assistance in writing the necessary letter to the board and furnished the DepEd. In the afternoon on April 21, 2010, Malbas informed Ms. Kennedy, president of the Alumni Reconstruction Committee to say that she would not be submitting a request for reconstruction of the Gen. F. Castillo Memorial School building.
The committee of course felt deceived and dismayed by unanswered question. Why did Ms. Malbas asked for help, attended a meeting with the governor and continued to act as if she wanted help? What will happen to the P1,000,000 repair funds allocated for General F. Castillo Memorial School (Gabaldon Buidling)? This amount was confirmed by Mr. Richard Flores – principal of ANHSAT and an employee of DepEd.
Who cares for the welfare of the children of General F. Castillo Memorial School? A very dangerous building waiting for an accident to happen – a child to be maimed or killed. The response of Principal Malbas is to cordon off the building.
(We submit this press release to your newspaper in hope that you can help unravel the mysteries that evade us and help get General F. Castillo Memorial School reconstructed.) /MP