Time to restore the Gabaldon
Editor's Note: a few days ago we sent a letter to Mayor America regarding resuming talks about the Gabaldon. You may recall that we started talks about this project in 2003, but Mother Nature and the 2004 calamity had other plans, and derailed our good intentions. The entire town, church and government focused their attention on the rehabilitation projects and to revive the town. Well, it is now time to give our attention to the Gabaldon, once more, and resurrect the school building to its former glory.
As some of you may recall, Infanta Central School was one of the more than 800 beneficiaries of the Gabaldon Act of 1801, which allocated one million pesos to construct school houses all over the Philippines. A response to the American government’s desire to bring public education to all Filipinos, the Gabaldon Act was named after its author Rep. Isauro Gabaldon of Nueva Ecija and was credited for building school houses that guaranteed capacity of at least 60 pupils. The Gabaldon Act allocated no more than four thousand pesos for each school, unless the municipality contributed a counterpart of at least fifty percent of the total amount through budget appropriations, voluntary contributions in cash, kind, or in manual labor.
Keeping this same sentiment of collaboration with the people, the government and the school officials, we would like to participate in this historic project. The board has recently approved a resolution to open an account to receive and sell stocks from a potential major donor interested in making a contribution towards the "Gabaldon Restoration Fund." In view of this development, we have asked the board to launch a capital fund campaign for this project.
There are still questions, however, regarding the status of the land on which the Gabaldon is located. We have asked Carolina Rutaqiuo Nido, a member of the board and, more importantly a member of the Rutaquio family, whose ancestors originally donated the "use" of the land, to inquire with her family about this issue.
We are also asking MIF Chairman Pol Derilo, who is currenly in Infanta, to represent the Board in deliberations and to keep us informed of developments and progress.
Meanwhile, below is her response to our letter.
A letter from Mayor Filipina Grace America
Dear Ms. Glodava,
Greetings from the local government unit of Infanta!
My re-election made me realize that God is so good in giving me additional time to work on my unfinished business, one of which is the restoration of Gabaldon school building, You are right, it is time to pursue the project.
You may have thought that we were not interested in this project. We are. In fact, we had already prepared the building plan and series of meeting were already conducted back then.
But planning and networking was interrupted by the 2004 Disaster that hit Infanta. The restoration of our water system, rehabilitation of irrigation canals, establishment of housing projects and dredging of Agos River among others became our top priorities.
It is almost three (3) years after that disaster and I think the local government and the people of Infanta are now ready to accept the challenge of restoring the Gabaldon building, the school building which was instrumental for what we are all today.
For this undertaking, please be informed that I convened a small group for a meeting on the 19th of this month. The small group is composed of the District Supervisor, the School Principal, the PTCA (PTA before) President, Governor Nantes’ and Congressman Mark Enverga’s District Coordinators and the new Vice Mayor, Hon. Roehl Ram Velasco (former Mayor Roldan Velasco’s son) to represent the Sangguniang Bayan. Your proposal on fund counterparting will be definitely discussed.I also plan to write a letter to both the Governor and the Congressman to plead for their funding support to this project after the July 19 meeting. We will keep you informed of the development of our concerted efforts for this mission of rebuilding an exact replica of a Gabaldon Building that will constantly touch our lives with the wonderful memoirs it brings to all Infantahins.
That’s all for now. Thank you for all your love for Infanta.
For God, Country and Our People,
FILIPINA GRACE R. AMERICA