School building in Hernani to be reconstructed by SM Foundation

Continuing its efforts to help rehabilitate the areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda, SM Foundation recently kicked off the construction of the Pedro E. Candido Memorial High School in Barangay Nagaja, Hernani, Eastern Samar with a groundbreaking ceremony.

“Our plans for the Pedro E. Candido Memorial High School is to construct a two-story building which will house 19 classrooms and a library,” Linda Atayde, SM Foundation Executive Director for Education, said. “The Foundation will continue to help communities recover from the wreckage left behind by Yolanda’s disaster.”

Serving 13 barangays, Hernani is home to a population of over 8,000 residents. Three hours away from Tacloban City proper, the Pedro E. Candido Memorial High School has been a central educational establishment to many communities, leading to over 900 enrollees before it was damaged by Yolanda.

Classified under the “no-build zone”, the construction of the new school building has been moved to a one-hectare piece of land, one and a half kilometers away from the original school site.

SM Foundation and its project partners Global Hope International and TtoKamsa Mission Church led the groundbreaking ceremony at the new site last April 24. Present at the event are founder and CEO of Global Hope International Dr. Yong Joong Cho;  Assistant Vice President for Livelihood, SM Foundation Inc., Cristie Angeles; Municipal Mayor of Hernani, Eastern Samar, Hon. Edgar Boco; Eastern Samar Development Foundation, Atty. Jose Ramirez; Pedro E. Candido Memorial High School Principal, Noime Villarino; and land donor, Mary Angelie Claire Candido. While the school is under construction, the students will be attending classes in temporary learning shelters provided by the UN Refugee Agency and the Department of Education.

The Foundation is also constructing a two-storey, four-classroom school building in Palo, Leyte, which is in cooperation with the BDO Foundation. Both construction projects are expected to be finished before the year ends.

Aside from school buildings, the SM Foundation has also lead many programs specifically geared to rehabilitate Yolanda stricken-areas. Its College Scholarship this year has added 100 new scholars, all survivors of Typhoon Yolanda. The Foundation is also currently reconstructing the Tacloban City Hospital.  Ten new Felicidad T. Sy Wellness Centers in Visayas are targeted to be constructed this year also.  Likewise, at least ten Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan farmer trainings will be conducted in Yolanda-stricken areas to help farmers and introduce them to new farming methods and processes. Finally, SM Foundation’s SM Cares Housing Project for Yolanda Survivors are constructing disaster-resilient 1,000 houses.