Stories of Change

School head appreciates, opens up decision-making to citizen group

 June 30, 2017    

by Jonathan Mongcal


CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY– From the many schools we visited for CheckMySchool (CMS) 6, Balubal National High School stood out. It was exceptionally appreciative of our monitoring efforts that we were even consulted about and made part of the decision-making process in the school’s major programs.


Principal Ceryll D. Celetaria requested us to take part in various programs, such as the MASSA Nourish the Kids and Livelihood Culmination Program, Balubal School-Based Feeding Program, and the Brigada Eskwelang Handog.


He went out of his way to invite CMS in planning these programs. Prior to Brigada Eskwelang Handog, we were involved in a planning session with teachers, barangay councils and GPTA representatives. The program design was presented to the group for discussion, deliberation and approval.


All the stakeholders were asked for contributions and their preferred committees. In our case, we volunteered CMS to assist in the distribution of school kits and food packs, and in the supervision of the children in the venue.


p3Photo: Jonathan Mongcal, Principal Celetaria and other school officials preparing for Brigada Eskwelang Handog


I was also requested to give a message as a third-party citizen group. So I took this opportunity to express my appreciation for how the school’s leadership reached out and sought CMS involvement. I was happy to receive back Principal Celetaria’s appreciation.


He said, “Sometimes, we principals are blinded by our own ideas and actions. A third-party monitor like CMS can validate whether I am making the right decisions.”


After the meeting, he led us outside and showed the school’s facilities for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) and Materials Recovery (MRF). CheckMySchool helped promote a partnership among barangay stakeholders, which was instrumental in installing both facilities.


In the event of the Brigada Eskwelang Handog, the CMS team received more appreciations. Mary Ann M. Allera, an official from the City Schools Division Office, said, “Thanks to CMS, repairs were done in the schools. The supervisors will use the CMS reports and photos as references in their visits.”


18765845_10155205242765535_6711279823925986583_nPhoto: Stakeholders gather for Brigada Eskwelang Handog


Commissioner Joan Lagunda of the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor, who initiated the event, likewise expressed interest in CMS. She asked if she can implement CMS in other areas in Misamis Oriental. I told her to recommend an organized group to join the upcoming cycle.


CMS has indeed gone a long way in Cagayan de Oro City as more schools recognize its role as a citizen monitoring group. It also continues to build linkages and networks and open up more opportunities to promote the advocacy for shared governance in schools.

Edited by: Eric Michael Santos

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