To raise awareness and appreciation of Gabaldon schoolhouses and other heritage buildings in the country, the Department of Education (DepEd) has instituted Gabaldon Schoolhouses Day to be celebrated every 20th of December.
The policy is under Republic Act (RA) 11194 or the Gabaldon School Buildings Conservation Act that aims to preserve the architectural, historical, and social significance of these legacy structures.
“Witness to historical events and personalities, Gabaldon and other heritage school buildings played a pioneering role in the development of the Philippine public school system,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said in a statement on Thursday.
She recognized the need to strengthen efforts to pursue a more proactive role in the conservation and restoration of heritage schools across the country.
“The Gabaldon Schoolhouses are forerunners and treasures of Philippine education, it goes without saying that this nationwide project is no easy task and we call upon everyone to help and support this endeavor,” Briones said.
As provided by the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 11194, DepEd, in consultation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), and the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP), will implement a program for the identification and conservation of all Gabaldon School Buildings nationwide.
DepEd, through the Education Facilities Division (EFD), will consolidate the list of identified schools to be included as a Gabaldon School Building or Heritage School Building.
During the national declaration of the Gabaldon Schoolhouses Day Celebration in Agno Central School in Pangasinan, DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del B. Pascua emphasized the importance of restoring heritage school buildings.
“In the process of restoring them physically, by virtue of reconstructing and putting all together yung mga dati pa niyang features, nire-restore din natin yung connection natin sa history. Yung connection ng mga bata sa kasaysayan nung kanilang mga Gabaldon schoolhouses (we also restore their connection to history. The students’ connection to the history of their Gabaldon schoolhouses),” Pascua said.
The Office of the Undersecretary for Administration (OUA) and Office of the Undersecretary for Field Operations (OUFO) of the Education department will develop programs, activities, and events for the celebration of a Gabaldon Heritage Week to be held between December 1-20.
“For sure what we are going to do this year or next year is repainting of newly restored Gabaldon, all 300 of them na iisa ang kulay (in one and the same color). Pangalawa (Secondly), coming up with a manual of construction, a manual on restoration and conservation. Pangatlo (thirdly), a coffee table book on newly restored historical Gabaldon with historical national significance at paglalagay ng historical and conservation markers para alam ng lahat ng estudyante at mabasa nila yung historical significance nung mga nire-restore natin (putting historical and conservation markers to all students would know and read about the historical significance of those that we restore,” Pascua noted in his message.