100,000 students to benefit from Pedals and Paddles program
The Department of Education (DepEd) has launched a program which will distribute around 40,000 bicycles and 1,500 boats to help at least 100,000 students in far-flung areas reach their respective schools easier, faster, and safer.
In partnership with the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation (YBHF) and Bikes for the Philippines Foundation (BFTPF), DepEd has officially launched the “Pedals and Paddles Project: Bayanihang Bangka at Bisikleta.”
Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro said that the program is part of DepEd’s “last mile” effort to reach all learners.
“This reiterates our commitment to deliver quality basic education to Filipino learners—especially to those who live in areas where transportation remains a challenge,” he said.
Through this partnership, Luistro hoped that DepEd will be able to improve the students’ performance in school by reducing their travel time.
“This project will also encourage schoolchildren to attend school and perform better,” he said.
DepEd has already identified public schools where students would need bikes and boats for transportation. DepEd Undersecretary for Partnerships and External Linkages Mario Deriquito said that 510 schools have sent requests for bicycles and 1,142 for boats.
YBHF will be in charge of distributing the boats in areas identified by DepEd.
YBHF Board Member Manny So said that the boats will be given to communities where young learners have to wade through rivers or even have to swim just to go to school.
Over 800 boats have been distributed by the group in various communities nationwide. YBHF has been giving paddled and motorized boats which conform to international standards.
Students will also be given training and orientation on boat safety as well as survival swimming lessons – among others.
The BFTPF will be distributing bicycles to high school students through a “bike loan.”
Founder Joel Uichico said that there are strict guidelines for distributing the bikes to ensure the safety of the students.