ERMITA, Manila – Araullo High School’s restroom situation was too worrisome to set aside. With a population of 5,000 students, the school only had two restrooms that were dysfunctional at the same time.
“Marami po ‘yung sira tapos hindi po maayos ‘yung flush. ‘Yung ilan po sa mga estudyante nagkakaroon po ng sakit na Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) kasi po minsan kapag sobrang naiihi na po sila, pinipigilan na lang po nila (The toilets are not functional, the flush does not work. Some students get Urinary Tract Infection [UTI] because they just hold their need to pee),” student Maricar Dicdican said.
So when Check My School (CMS) visited this school in Ermita, restroom repair was a prime concern. It did not take long for the proper authorities to take action. In two months, Araullo High School had its restrooms renovated through a P1.1 million project assigned by the Department of Education (DepEd).
Through Manila Superintendent Dr. Ponciano Menguito, CMS Manila Infomediary Emma de Mesa sent a letter to Education Secretary Armin Luistro on Nov. 27, 2011. The letter detailed the school’s request for the renovation of its facilities. On Dec. 7, 2011, Menguito endorsed the letter to DepEd’s Physical Facilities and Schools Engineering Division. After a week, the DepEd Central Office sent someone to the school to survey and draw up an estimate of the repairs needed. Two months later, renovation of the restrooms began.
De Mesa was surprised with the length of time it took for authorities to respond. The action taken with CheckMySchool involved was the fastest she has witnessed in her 10 years of serving as president of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). She said requests typically take one year, if not remain unaddressed for many years as principals and PTA presidents come and go.
Principal Elena Batusan also had a change in mind about CMS. At first, she thought CheckMySchool would put her school under scrutiny, possibly in a bad light. But the principal has now seen the value of CMS and its impact on student welfare. “Our students are very glad that they can now use the second-floor restroom,” Batusan said. “I think Check My School is really a big help especially for public schools not only in Manila but all over the country.”
Edited by Karol Ilagan