LEARNING KITS. Some of the recipients of the PagbaBAGo: A Million Learners and Trees campaign” of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) in Dagupan City pose for a picture during the launching program on Sunday (May 28, 2023). Around 1,000 beneficiaries of the project in the city received backpack bags and dental kits, among others. (Photo by Liwayway Yparraguirre)

DAGUPAN CITY, Pangasinan – Around 1,000 learners from different public elementary schools here have received learning materials and dental kits over the weekend, as part of the “PagbaBAGo: A Million Learners and Trees campaign” of the Office of the Vice President (OVP).

DepEd Dagupan Curriculum Implementation Division chief Ma. Linda Ventenilla, in an interview on Monday, said the 1,000 learners who received the assistance on Sunday were from public schools with Kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 4 students under "severely wasted" and "wasted nutritional" status.

According to the United Nations Children's Fund, children become "severely wasted" if they do not gain sufficient weight or lose weight due to inadequate dietary intake or diseases

“We have proportionately divided the 1,000 based on school population and number of severely wasted and wasted learners from the 34 public elementary and integrated schools. Our partners for the forthcoming tree planting are the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources but the date is still to be announced. Planting will be facilitated by OVP, Team Bakawan, and the JCI clubs (Junior Chamber International) in the city and other volunteers,” Ventenilla said.

OVP-Dagupan Satellite Office Manager Marc Brian Lim said the recipients from the different areas in the country were identified by the DepEd division offices.

“The learners are in the DepEd’s database of severely wasted or malnourished learners while the seedlings from the OVP will be planted at the different public schools,” he said.

Lim said distribution of the PagbaBAGo bags to identified recipients will continue until they reach 1 million target learners.

In a prerecorded video message, Vice President Sara Duterte said the project inculcates into the minds of the learners the significance of protecting the environment not only for today but also for the future.

“Dito naka-angkla ang ating adbokasiya ng kahalagahan ng edukasyon at disiplina sa mga kabataan. Inasahan natin na magiging inspirado ang ating mga anak na mag-aral at isapuso ang paghahangad na tapusin ang kanilang edukasyon at maging mga propesyonal, dahil sa kanilang narating, tutulong sila sa kanilang mga pamilya at makakasama natin sila sa pagsulong ng isang matatag na bansa (It is anchored on the advocacy on the importance of education and discipline among the youth. We are expecting that they will be inspired to study and to aim to finish their education and become professionals, and because of their achievements they will help their family and will be among those who will be with us towards a progressive country,” she said.

During the event, a ceremonial turnover of native tree seedlings from the OVP to the representatives of the Department of Education (DepEd) Dagupan City Schools Division was also held.

The OVP-Dagupan Satellite Office joined other OVP satellite offices all over the country for the simultaneous launching on Sunday of “PagbaBAGo: A Million Learners and Trees campaign” led by Duterte, who was in Cebu City.

Aside from Dagupan City and Cebu City, launching programs were also held in Davao City, Zamboanga City, Tandag City in Surigao del Sur, Bacolod City, Tacloban City and Ilagan City in Isabela. (PNA)