Bukidnon Province, Philippines, August 1, 2007 — Today, Malaybalay City hosted a ceremony highlighting the distribution of 25,000 books to 800 schools across the province of Bukidnon.
The Asia Foundation affirmed its continued commitment to education and literacy with today’s donation of books to all public and private schools in Bukidnon. The donation is part of Books for Asia’s work under The Asia Foundation’s Transparent Accountable Governance (TAG) project, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Malaybalay City Mayor Florencio Flores, Jr. and Bukidnon Governor Jose Ma. Zubiri, Jr. acknowledged the presence of USAID Senior Civic Participation Specialist Mr. Gerry Porta along with The Asia Foundation Country Representative Dr. Steven Rood, and other officials. Representatives from the Department of Education including principals and students of recipient elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities also participated during the books event.
According to The Asia Foundation’s Country Representative, Dr. Steven Rood, “We hope the people of this great nation, children and adults alike, can experience the valuable things that writers from different lands and from different times have to share.” Dr. Rood added, “This books campaign is a continuing effort to engage students, educators, local leaders, and generous donors to work as one to provide learning opportunities for people of all ages to help reduce poverty.”
Mr. Porta pointed out that the history of U.S. Government support for education in the Philippines actually goes back more than 100 years, to the early 20th century, when American volunteer school teachers, who came to be known as ‘Thomasites,” arrived to help establish the country’s public school system. He said, “today’s ceremonial turnover of books affirms and continues the long tradition of cooperation among Americans, the people of Mindanao, and all Filipinos to ensure that children and young scholars have access to education.”
For his part, Malaybalay City Mayor Florencio T. Flores, Jr. expressed his gratitude to The Asia Foundation and the USAID, saying, “We are ever so thankful to have been chosen as beneficiaries, as the books are greatly needed by the schools to aid the pupils and students in their continued learning.” Mayor Flores added that the Books For Asia Program is in sync with the City Government’s efforts to heighten the learning of the youth in Malaybalay, saying, “We have to push on with strengthening our thrusts and programs in education, as this helps reduce poverty, empowers the youth and families, and contributes to the total growth and development of the City and her people.”
ABOUT BOOKS FOR ASIA
Books for Asia is The Asia Foundation’s longest running program and regularly distributes books and other reading materials for all educational levels in over 15 countries. Since it was started in September 1954, The Books for Asia program has distributed more than 41 million books and journals to more than 50,000 academic and non-academic institutions throughout Asia. The Philippines alone has been a recipient of 13 million books and journals to public and private institutions across the country. More than 95 percent of Books for Asia’s donations are new textbooks, donated by U.S. publishers.
The reading materials range from the elementary level to professional level, covering such fields as government, business, health, environment, information technology, social science, and international relations. Books for Asia has made a significant contribution to education in the Philippines, especially since resources for instruction tools and facilities are scarce. All educational levels have benefited from this program. Basic textbooks and supplementary reading materials have been donated to schools and libraries all over the country. NGOs are also recipients of valuable resource materials from Books for Asia.
ABOUT THE ASIA FOUNDATION
The Asia Foundation is a non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to the development of a peaceful, prosperous, just, and open Asia-Pacific region. The Foundation supports programs in Asia that help improve governance and law, women’s empowerment, economic reform and development, and international relations. Drawing on more than 50 years of experience in Asia, the Foundation collaborates with private and public partners to support leadership and institutional development, exchanges, and policy research.
With a network of 17 offices throughout Asia, an office in Washington, D.C., and its headquarters in San Francisco, the Foundation addresses these issues on both a country and regional level. In 2006, the Foundation provided more than $53 million in program support and distributed 920,000 books and educational materials valued at $30 million throughout Asia.
THE U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency of the U.S. government that provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed the Foreign Assistance Act into law, creating by executive order what is now known as USAID. USAID is headquartered in Washington, DC, with offices in more than 90 countries and territories in four regions of the world: Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Near East, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and Eurasia.
USAID’s program in the Philippines, planned at just over $70 million in 2006, focuses on reducing conflict in Mindanao, improving economic governance, promoting the health and well-being of Filipinos, strengthening management and governance of natural resources, energy and the urban environment, and increasing access to quality education in Mindanao. All programs emphasize assistance in Mindanao, particularly in conflict-affected areas, and build and capitalize on important earlier investments. The United States has provided more than $5 billion in economic assistance to the Philippines since 1946.
MALAYBALAY CITY’S COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION
The City Government of Malaybalay endeavors an educated youth, to have them well-equipped with the practicalities of life and make them contributive, empowered individuals of society. It is committed to aid the children, the young adults and the adults alike in their aspirations for higher education, and will continue to reach out and strengthen its networking with government agencies and other organizations whose thrusts are the same, to make education accessible and affordable, and more importantly, help the children and the youth to be total human beings for themselves, their families and their communities, and the country as a whole.