CDO sole Mindanao city awarded Synergeia Seal of Good Education Governance

May 6, 2018



Cagayan de Oro City has been awarded the Seal of Good Education Governance from Synergeia Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and a fitting recognition it is.  

(L-R) Synergeia Foundation President & CEO Milwida Guevara, USAID Education Specialist Monica Tan, Smart Distributor Sales Manager Bernie Deatras, PLDT Enterprise Group Mindanao Head Ben Melasa, Smart Community Partnerships Head Darwin Flores, Datu Paglas Mayor Abubakar Paglas, USAID Deputy Chief of Executive Office Timothy Marlowe, Cagayan de Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno, Simunul Mayor Nazif Abdurahman, North Upi Mayor Ramon Piang, and Bongao Mayor Jimuel Que.


Cagayan de Oro, as the only city in Mindanao, along with four towns in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), was recognized for its outstanding efforts in delivering basic education to their constituents.

The four towns are Simunul and Bongao in Tawi-Tawi, North Upi and Datu Paglas in Maguindanao.

The five Mindanao Local Government Units (LGUs) are among the two cities and 22 municipalities from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao to receive the recognition. Valenzuela City was the only other city to receive the recognition.

The LGUs will also get incentive packages from PLDT and Smart Communications, worth up to P1.5 million each.

Cagayan de Oro City has pushed local government’s initiatives in providing quality basic education to public school children and for making it a priority under Mayor Oscar Moreno’s administration.

Moreno, who was earlier dubbed an Education Champion by the Department of Education, pushed for the construction of  new classrooms in the elementary and secondary levels in his first term, after the mere handful built by the previous administration in the face of the rising population of children of school age in the city’s populace.

According to a recent report from the Cagayan de Oro Expanded Local School Board, from School Year 2013-2014 to School Year 2017-2018, the city government under the present administration invested some P2.5 billion for education infrastructure projects, mainly for new classrooms, school buildings and new campuses funded by the one percent share of real property taxes.

Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno with members of the Expanded Local School Board and officers of PLDT, Smart and USAID.

In fact, from 2013 to present there were 9 school sites acquired and 461 classrooms built (97 Elementary; 364 Secondary) with more projects for implementation mostly in barangays where classroom and school facilities were previously non-existent or inadequate to house the growing student populace.

But Moreno did not do it alone, but also involved the community, teachers and parents by empowering them through trainings and workshops for their role in molding a child’s education, in partnership with the Synergeia, PLDT and Smart Communications and other private entities, primarily by expanding the membership of the Local School Board (LSB) to include private schools, the local chambers of commerce, interfaith organizations, the youth and non-teaching personnel of the Department of Education. 

Key performance indicators monitored by the LSB indicate the present thrust is a step in the right direction.

For instance, more and more school children are completing grade six, with an increase of completion rate at 2.29% in both public and private elementary level from SY 2016-2017 to SY 2017-2018.

The LSB report said a major factor in the increase of Key Performance Indicators is the contribution of City Government of Cagayan de Oro City through the Local School Board in terms of establishments and purchases of additional school sites, construction of school buildings, conduct series of trainings and workshops to educators, parents, barangay officials and other stakeholders and other related activities.

An increase in the number of independent and instructional readers and a corresponding decrease in the number of non-readers and frustrated readers indicate the city is making the right moves.

Moreno shared his vision “For Cagayan de Oro to fortify and enhance its role as the Education Center, not just of Northern Mindanao, but of the upper half of Mindanao.”

Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno speaks during the Synergeia Foundation’s recent awarding of a Seal of Good Education Governance in Davao City.


“After all, the first public high school in this part of the country was established here in Cagayan de Oro in 1909 during the American era. From pre-school (aged 3-5) to Senior High School, the city provides quality education to its residents, efficiently done in collaboration with DepEd and all other stakeholders of the city,” he noted.

“The city’s educational status is our crown jewel. This is where future leaders of our country are being molded,” he stressed further.

The classrooms for elementary and secondary students built under his first term in 2013-2016 made Cagayan de Oro City one of the few cities in the country that was able to accommodate the inflow of senior high school students under the government’s K to 12 program, even including students from neighboring municipalities.

Stymied by the predominantly opposition council which time and again turned down his proposed budget, Moreno turned to the city’s Special Education Fund (SEF) to buy land for schools, build school buildings, promote sports development in public elementary and secondary schools, train teachers, and conduct researches.

Through the help of Synergeia Foundation, Inc. the city’s school community has improved the delivery of quality education for the students.

Established in 2002, Synergeia is a coalition of individuals and organizations working closely with about 400 LGUs to improve the delivery of basic education to Filipino children.

To boost the capability of seal recipients to improve education in their localities, PLDT and Smart will provide technology packages suited to the LGUs’ respective circumstances and needs.

Among the incentives are the Smart School-in-a-Bag, which includes a solar panel for schools without electricity, mobile devices, curriculum-based educational content, teacher training, monitoring, and evaluation.

(L-R) Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno, Romeo Aclo, Jonathan dela Peña, (Cagayan de Oro Schools Division Superintendent), Synergeia Foundation President & CEO Milwida Guevara, and Ma. Dulce T. Potenciano.


The winners will also receive instructional materials from USAID Philippines.

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