The Asia Foundation Distributes Books In Southern Philippines

March 5, 2008 at 6:13 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

Efren Balajadia, the Director of the Books for Asia Program, of The Asia Foundation, hands over books and reference materials to Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan and Vice Gov. Lady Anne Sahidullah and other provincial officials headed by Patikul town Mayor Kabir Hayudini during a two-day peace caravan in Sulu province. The Asia Foundation will distribute 20,000 books on Thursday and Friday, March 6-7, 2008 in South Cotabato province and General Santos City in southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo/Nickee Butlangan)


KORONADAL CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner /  Mar. 05, 2008) – The Asia Foundation will release some 20,000 children’s books and reference materials to 560 schools in the southern Philippines.

Steven Rood, Country Representative of The Asia Foundation, said they will distribute the books at separate ceremonies on Thursday and Friday in South Cotabato province and General Santos City.

The donations, he said, are part of The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program. The distribution of the books in Mindanao is made possible through The Asia Foundation’s Transparent Accountable Governance (TAG) project with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Among key people who are invited to grace the occasion in South Cotabato are Koronadal City Mayor Fernando Miguel, South Cotabato Governor Daisy Fuentes and other government and education officials.

Mayor Pedro Acharon and Congresswoman Darlene Custodio will also lead the ceremony in General Santos City.

The provision of books and other educational resources serves as a joint commitment in the campaign for education among communities in South Cotabato and General Santos.

“The Asia Foundation is happy to be able to provide educational resources in order to make a difference in the lives of school children in South Cotabato and General Santos.”

“All members of society have to take on the responsibility of mobilizing their resources to create an impact on the performance of their young leaders. With the help of our local governments and private partners, we can help each community as we bring learning to all deserving schools throughout Southern Mindanao and the rest of the Philippines,” said Ky Johnson, Deputy Country Representative of The Asia Foundation.

Since 1954, Books for Asia program has been committed to the belief that knowledge and education are critical for Asian nations to advance their citizens and societies. The program puts nearly one million up-to-date books and resources of the highest quality into the hands of students, teachers, and librarians in 17 Asian countries each year, according to The Asia Foundation.

“Education forms the foundation for all prosperous and democratic societies,” Jon Lindborg, USAID Philippines Mission Director, said. “The U.S. Government is very proud to support the work of dedicated organizations like The Asia Foundation and committed schools and communities across Mindanao to help improve educational opportunities for school children and young scholars.”

USAID’s program in the Philippines, valued at approximately $80 million in 2008, focuses on strengthening peace in conflict-affected Mindanao, promoting good governance, increasing economic opportunities, protecting the environment, strengthening health services, and improving basic education.

Last year, The Asia Foundation, a non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to the development of a peaceful, prosperous, just, and open Asia-Pacific region, provided more than $68 million in program support and distributed 974,000 books and educational materials valued at $33 million throughout Asia. It depends solely on monetary contributions from donors to accomplish its work.

Reynald Ocampo, Assistant Program Officer-Books for Asia Program, acknowledged the unrelenting support of public and private partners in the endeavor and said U.S. publishers have supplied the books while the Aboitiz2go helped shipped them to Mindanao.

“We are happy to help and look forward to providing more books to other areas in Mindanao,” Ocampo told the Mindanao Examiner.

In December, the Asia Foundation led by Efren Balajadia, the Books for Asia Program Director, also donated books and reference materials to Sulu province during a two-day peace caravan. Balajadia said they will continue to support basic education program in Sulu. (With a report from Mark Navales and Nickee Butlangan)

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