Makati Mayor Abby Binay on Wednesday kicked-off the citywide distribution of free rubber shoes at the Francisco Benitez Elementary School and four other schools with some 6,000 students from kinder to grade 6 and SPED classes as initial beneficiaries.
Binay said that true to her promise, a new and better version of the shoes, dubbed “Air Binay” by netizens on its launch a year ago, is now available for distribution to around 90,000 kinder, high school and SPED students in the city’s public schools.
“The welfare of our youth will always be a priority of my administration. We will continue to expand the programs on education that my father started several years ago. Our goal is to promote a worry-free environment where students can concentrate on their studies, and acquire the knowledge and skills they need to become globally competitive individuals,” the mayor said.
Binay revealed that in the coming school year, the city government will be distributing new school socks for free to the students.
“For as long as we have the financial means, we are willing to pull out all the stops to ensure that our students have everything they need, so that all they have to do is study and learn and become the best that they can be,” she vowed.
The new pair of rubber shoes is among the items added by the current administration to Makati’s Project FREE (Free Relevant Excellent Education) that provides free school supplies and uniforms to public schoolchildren. Other items recently added include new raincoats and rain boots, anti-dengue kits, and dental and hygiene kits.
Also receiving the Air Binay 2.0 rubber shoes on Wednesday were students Maximo Estrella Elementary School, Jose Magsaysay Elementary School, Nicanor Garcia Elementary School and Makati Elementary School.
Some of the students who were interviewed by the city information office during the distribution expressed a mixture of delight, excitement and gratitude over the free rubber shoes they received.
Angel Domingo of Francisco Benitez Elementary School thanked Mayor Binay for all the items provided by the city to students for free, which she said were a big help with their education.
“Bilang mag-aaral ng Makati, malaking tulong na po sa amin ang ibinabahagi ni Mayora na libreng school supplies at ito po ay makatutulong sa aming pag-aaral. Bilang isang bata po, maraming gastusin sa pamilya, at maraming salamat po kay Mayora na nagbibigay ng libreng bagay na nagbibigay-daan sa aming edukasyon. At kapag kami ay naka-graduate, ito ay magsisilbing patunay na mahalaga po ang ibinibigay ni Mayora,” said Domingo.
Frances Therese Santiago of Maximo Estrella Elementary School was delighted with the design and thanked the mayor for providing the free school items to students. “Maganda po, at saka kumportable. Thank you po, Mayora Abby kasi binibigyan niyo po kami ng libreng gamit,” said Santiago.
From the same school, Amber Xyrille Argache also showed excitement for the new shoes, saying it was better than the original version.
“Maganda po…excited po ako. Mas maganda po ‘yung bago. Thank you po, Mayora Abby kasi binibigyan niyo po kami ng libreng sapatos, notebook, mga ganun po,” Argache said.
“Hindi po sya dumihin at saka maganda po sya tignan,” said Marie Antonette Dumindin of Jose Magsaysay Elementary School.
“Masaya po ako dahil may bago na akong rubber shoes,” said Rob Darwin Ramos from the same school.
For kinder to grade and SPED students, the city has allocated a total of 49,824 pairs of Air Binay 2.0. For junior to senior high school students, the city has allocated 40,314 pairs.
In the next few days, Binay will distribute the shoes in South Cembo ES, Pitogo ES, Cembo ES, San Jose ES, Nemesio Yabut ES, Rizal ES, Pembo ES, Comembo ES, East Rembo ES, West Rembo ES, Fort Bonifacio ES, Guadalupe Viejo ES, Bangkal ES (Main), Bangkal ES I and II, San Antonio Village ES, Hen. Pio del Pilar ES (Main), Hen. Pio del Pilar ES I, Palanan ES, La Paz ES, and Francisco Benitez III (Singkamas).
For high school, the shoes will be distributed in Bangkal High School, Hen. Pio del Pilar HS, San Isidro National HS, Maximo Estrella Senior HS, Makati HS, Benigno Aquino HS, Tibagan HS Annex, Fort Bonifacio HS, Senior High School ng UMak, Makati Science HS, Pitogo HS, and Nemesio I. Yabut Senior HS.
Aside from additional items to Project FREE, Binay also initiated new projects in line with her vision of “globally competitive Makatizens” emerging from the city’s public education system. Among these were free tutorials in mathematics, work immersion programs for senior high school students and SpEd learners, and free educational trips to famous sites that include Kidzania, Manila Ocean Park, and Mind Museum.
To promote inclusivity, she also pushed for the launch last year of SPEED for SpED, a training program for SpEd learners aimed at increasing their productivity and employability. Its first batch of beneficiaries composed of 150 SpEd learners received transportation and meal allowances while attending skills training in Makati’s public senior high laboratories, and during work immersion proper with industry partners and City Hall.