School with Tagbanua kids in Coron gets energized

At the elementary school in Banuang Daan, an island barangay of Coron, Palawan, children used to have an extra break from their classes.

“During summer, teachers would let the children out of the classrooms during midday so they can cool off. Even then, our kids would come home from school soaked with sweat,” Banuang Daan Barangay Captain Bienvenido Abella said in Filipino.

All that is in the past. The Banuang Daan Elementary School with 233 schoolchildren, mostly members of Tagbanua tribe of Palawan, now have electricity from a 15.12-kilowatt peak (kWp) PV system. The solar installation, donated by Vivant Foundation and COREnergy Inc. powers the basic load of the three classrooms at Banuang Daan Elementary School, which includes electric fans, teachers’ laptops and lighting, as well as a charging station where the community can charge flashlights and mobile phones.

Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Jose W. Garcia said he hopes that the solar energization would pave the way for the Department of Education (DepEd) to implement its computerization program in Banuang Daan Elementary School.

“One of the main goals of Project Liadlaw is to ensure that no child gets left behind due to lack of access to electricity which powers modern learning tools. Many off-grid communities are IP and it is our hope to continue to bring equity in learning to indigenous children,” Garcia said during the ceremonial turnover of the solar installation in Banuang Daan Elementary School last February 28.

MORE THAN ENOUGH POWER. Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Jose W. Garcia (right) and Banuang Daan ES teacher-in-charge Jomar Amit (left) lead the ceremonial turnover of the PV system which includes batteries so that the school still has energy when the sky is overcast or at night. Also present during the turnover are (from left) Engr. Marchel Olivar of Vivant Energy/COREnergy and Maylyn Dilig of DepEd-Division of Palawan.

Vivant Foundation’s Project Liadlaw combines solar energization with the upgrading of the Electrical Installation and Maintenance (EIM) tech-voc track offering of a senior high school. The approach addresses concerns about sustainability as the EIM students will be the ones conducting basic maintenance and repair of the solar installation of the off-grid school. 

The solar energization of Banuang Daan ES system is also part of the corporate social responsibility initiative of COREnergy, the subsidiary of Vivant Energy which provides energy solutions for businesses including rooftop solar. 

“Together with Vivant Foundation, we hope to replicate the assistance for Banuang Daan Elementary School in other remote and off-grid schools in the country. For us at COREnergy, the project helps us promote solar as an alternative energy source and allows us empower future leaders of our communities,” said COREnergy President Al Douglas Villaos. 

Maylyn G. Dilig, program specialist of the social mobilization, monitoring and evaluation of DepEd-Division of Palawan, said distance should not hinder equal access to quality of education. She stressed though that to raise the quality of education, particularly in remote areas, educators and the community need to work together. 

Coron municipal officials led by Mayor Mario T. Reyes Jr. also called for everyone concerned to collaborate towards improving the quality of public education in the town. Coron municipal officials traveled to Banuang Daan for the ceremonial turnover of the PV system. 

“We are very grateful to Vivant Foundation and COREnergy. With solar energy, our work has become easier with the solar power and the kids are more comfortable inside the classroom,” said Jomar Amit, teacher—in-charge of Banuang Daan Elementary School. 

Banuang Daan is more than an hour’s ride away by boat from the Poblacion port. It is known to many tourists because of Kayangan Lake, one of Coron’s must-visit tourist destination.

CHARGING STATION. Joseph Lua, senior assistant president for industry affairs of Vivant Energy, tries the solar-powered charging station at Banuang Daan ES.

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