Sunday, February 16, 2014

“Teachers can change lives with just the right mix of chalk and challenges.” - Joyce Meyer

Rune D. Palomaria is a freshman public school teacher. Five days a week, he goes to school to teach his students. He always prepare the materials needed in class. As a newbie in teaching, he was destined to teach in a remote area. Pegalongan Elementary Shool is one of the farthest schools in Davao City. It is situated at Sitio Pegalongan, Malamba, Marilog District. To get to Pegalongan, Rune travels two hours by bus, another hour by ‘habal-habal’ motorcycle, plus around four hours of trekking, which includes crossing two treacherous rivers—Simod River and Davao River.

Crossing the two rivers is not easy. The river water level rises whenever it rains. They are putting their lives at risk in crossing these rivers just to give the needs of the students. 

There are eight male teachers who serves 210 students of the Matigsalog tribe in Pegalongan Elementary School. All of these teachers are from the City Government and have committed themselves to provide education to a group of people who otherwise, would not have access to it.

The head teacher

Randy Halasan is the principal of this school. He is also the very first teacher in Pegalongan Elementary School. According to him, he did not expect that he would accept  the challenge to teach in this area where electricity, cellphone as well as TV signal does not exist. Since he needs to earn a living, he accepted it eventually. He’s been through many trials and one of these is crossing the said river.

Because of his dedication to help the community of the Matigsalog Tribe in Pegalongan, he helped them how to earn money. With the assistance of the City Government of Davao, he established the Pegalongan Farmers Association. The locals where provided with seedlings to be planted on their lands. Mr. Halasan taught them how to plant a nursery of fruits and vegetables on their backyards.

Randy was awarded with Bato Balani Foundation of Many Faces of Teachers Award. Many people admired his story and he was featured in one of the program of GMA 7 titled “I Witness”. He was also recognized by The Edge Davao & The Philippine Daily Inquirer.




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