Wednesday, August 05, 2009

SVD-ALS bid "Salamat at Paalam Tita Cory"

It's 9:00 pm, Wednesday of August 5, 2009. The whole nation has just witnessed the burial of Cory Aquino--wife of Ninoy, restorer of freedom, and woman of "unwavering faith" (words from Pope Benedict XVI). It was a touching moment, after 8 hours of slow and emotion-filled procession from the Manila Cathedral to Manila Memorial Park (in Sucat, Paranaque). The Funeral Mass earlier was equally moving, especially with the homily of Fr. Catalino Arevalo, SJ ("dean" of Filipino theologians, and Cory's spiritual adviser). Without her undeserved sufferings ("crosses and roses" as Cory had called them), "the essential Cory," Fr. Arevalo said, "is not revealed." Indeed, "many are sorrows of the just" (Psalm 34:20). For the video of the homily of Fr. Arevalo, click here.

We were also there, under the rain and more rain-- SVD-ALS were there at Roxas Blvd to say thank you and goodbye to this most beautiful Filipina, beautiful even in death.

The SVD-ALS stands for the Alternative Learning System for 124 out-of-school youth hosted by Divine Word Seminary in Tagaytay (started last March 2009).

The ALS is a non-formal education program of the Philippine Government’s Department of Education. It prepares, among others, out-of-school youths or drop-outs/leavers to take the Accreditation and Equivalency test by undergoing the Learning Support Delivery System (LSDS), a learning intervention designed to equip the prospective test takers with the necessary competencies to prepare them for the test. Successful test takers receive certification of learning achievements at two learning levels – Elementary and Secondary – that is comparable to the formal school system.

SVD-ALS is located at the Arnoldus Dispensary building. It is run by one full-time teacher—Ms. Olive Tolentino and two volunteers—Ms. Ritchelle Razon and Ms. Perla Costa. The site coordinator is Fr. Randolf C. Flores, SVD and is assisted by three SVD deacons—Severo Biton, Jr., Dante Barril, and Ferdinand Bajao. SVD-ALS is supervised by Arnold Janssen Catholic Mission Foundation (SEC Registration no. A200116743 approved on 07 Nov. 2001) which runs 7 LSDS centers in the country.

"The Aquino government after the People Power Revolution, enacted Executive Order No. 117 in 1987 to create the Bureau of Nonformal Education. Article 14, section 2(4) of the 1987 Philippine Constitution stated: 'The state shall encourage nonformal, formal, indigenous learning systems, as well as self-learning, independent and out-of-school study programs, particularly those that respond to community needs; and provide adult citizens, the disabled and out-of school youth training in civics, vocational efficiency and other skills.'"

It is for this reason that I brought our our-of-school youth to Roxas Blvd to thank the Lord for President Cory Aquino, the "bearer of freedom" (including freedom from "kamangmangan").




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