BOGO CITY, CEBU -  SM Foundation continues to strengthen its commitment to providing quality education with the turnover of a new school building to the Marcelo B. Fernan Polambato  Elementary School in Bogo City, on Feb. 22. The two-storey four classroom school building is the 3rd building donated by SM Foundation to the said school. This is in partnership with the DFS Group Limited, the world’s leading luxury travel retailer, with stores present in various airports worldwide. It also serves as the 80th school building donated by the Foundation across the country to date. The school building is fully furnished with 200 student arm chairs (including 20 left-handed armchairs), 4 teacher’s desk sets, 16 wall fans, 8 blackboards, 4 wall clocks and 4 fully functioning washrooms.

Bogo City was one of the most severely devastated communities when Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the country in November 2013. 

“Super typhoon Yolanda not only left physical devastation,” said Linda Atayde, SM Foundation Executive Director for Education Programs. “It left deep scars of trauma and hopelessness to everyone. Upon seeing this, we immediately gathered our resources and leveraged on our relationships to help start rebuilding.”

SM patriarch, Henry Sy, Sr. believes that education is the greatest equalizer. Thus, SM Foundation allocates most of its social investments in its education programs namely the school building program and the scholarship program for both college and technical-vocational education.

The Foundation worked with like-minded organizations who share the same mission to improve the lives of the underprivileged members of the community. One of the beliefs of DFS is “We Demonstrate Humanity,” which means that DFS works through humanity, inspiring others to share.

“We, the faculty and staff, are very glad that you came to our lives,” stressed Brigith Jugasan, Principal of the Marcelo B. Fernan Polambato Elementary School. “From our deep distress and misery caused by super typhoon Yolanda, we can now recover from that trauma.”

The new school building will be used by grades 1 and 4 students. Every year, the school is faced with an increasing population from 545 students in 2014 to 679 students this year. Most of the students come from families whose livelihood is dependent on fishing and farming. The school is situated on a donated parcel of land from the family of the late Senator Marcelo B. Fernan, who served as the 20th President of the Senate of the Philippines and as the 118th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

“As the principal of this institution and on behalf of the Department of Education, it is my honor and privilege to thank DFS Group Limited, the SM Group of Companies and the Fernan family for their never-ending support to the Polambato people in giving all the school buildings that our learners will be using,” said Jugasan. 

DFS Assistant General Manager DFS Group Limited, Ciaran O’ Neill expressed their appreciation for this partnership, “We hope that we can continue to have a relationship with SM Foundation and the Marcelo B. Fernan Polambato Elementary School where we hope that this amazing new school will even bring us future employees for DFS.” 

Exactly a year after typhoon Yolanda struck, SM Foundation, in partnership with Deutsche Bank, lifted the spirits of the people of Barangay Polambato with the turnover of two school buildings in the same school. These buildings were larger than the usual design, having two floor levels with 6 fully furnished classrooms instead of the typical 4. 

Beyond the three school buildings, SM Foundation, through its division SM Cares, turned over 200 new homes in the SM Cares Village in Bogo City. Each home is designed to withstand typhoons with maximum wind velocity of 250 kph with roofs covered with heat-resilient paint to help lower the temperature inside the houses and improve energy efficiency.

SM supports its host communities wherever it is present. In Cebu alone, SM Foundation has built and donated four school buildings with 20 fully furnished classrooms - one to the Jugan Elementary School and three to the Marcelo B. Fernan Polambato Elementary School; it has renovated and refurbished 2 medical facilities namely the Cebu City Medical Center and the San Remigio Main Health Center; it has conducted 6 medical missions serving thousands of patients; it has also completed 9 farmers’ training programs with a total of 1096 farmers trained; and it has planted 10,000 saplings under its Grow A Million Trees program. Currently, the Foundation supports 169 college scholars and 165 technical-vocational scholars from the province.  

SM Foundation, Inc.