The local government units (LGU) of Infanta and Lucena City in Quezon province each signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Ayala Foundation, Inc. (AFI) and BPI Foundation, Inc. (BFI) to develop community libraries aimed at expanding and enriching the learning experience of students and residents of the said localities.
On May 11, the MOA for the Infanta project was signed at the Infanta Municipal Building Annex. Signatories and witnesses to the MOA were Mayor Filipina Grace America, AFI President Maria Lourdes Heras-de Leon, AFI Senior Director Ma. Elizabeth Gustilo, BFI Executive Director Florendo Maranan, Member and Chair of Sangguniang Bayan (SB) Committee on Education Rodante Potes, and BFI Finance and Administrative Officer Gina Astilla. Also present during the MOA signing was Vice Mayor Ricardo Macasaet III.
The LGU of Infanta allotted space for the Municipal Library at the 4thfloor of the Municipal Building Annex. Aside from this, the LGU also committed to provide logistical support and resources for capacity building activities, provide additional books and other materials for the library collection, and hire and deploy one or more full time librarians.
For the Lucena project, the City Government of Lucena, AFI, and BFI, partnered with the Department of Education (DepEd)-Lucena City. DepEd allocated space for the community library in the Lucena West I Elementary School.
The MOA was signed in Lucena on June 6 by the following signatories and witnesses: Mayor Barbara Ruby Talaga, DepEd Lucena Schools Division Superintendent Dr. Aniano Ogayon, AFI President Maria Lourdes Heras-de Leon, BFI Executive Director Florendo Maranan, Member and Chair of Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Education Felix Avillo, and BFI Finance and Administrative Officer Gina Astilla.
James Cooper, popular beauty expert and chair of Lucena’s Pasayahan Festival, was also present during the MOA signing. Cooper, who had also envisioned a learning center in the city, said that proceeds from the festival would help fund the OurLibrary project in Lucena.
AFI, through the Filipinas Heritage Library (FHL), spearheads the OurLibrary project, which aims to develop the resource materials, facilities, and library services for communities, especially for the youth. FHL acquires books and materials that comprise the seed collection of libraries, installs an online public access catalog (OPAC), and conducts training on librarianship. Related activities that aim to promote a greater love of reading and learning as well as awareness and appreciation of local heritage are also initiated through this project.
Meanwhile, BFI provides funds for both projects through the Doña Isabel Garcia Trust Fund. Doña Isabel, a Spanish lady who lived in Infanta for several years, entrusted funds to BPI to be used for various development projects in the town that she considered home. The LGUs are also providing counterpart funding including maintenance and operating expenses and salaries of designated librarians.
Both community libraries will be completed six months after the signing of the agreement. The libraries will be open to the public.