Focus 2003

Philippines North - FIN15-11-2003

Project: Don Bosco Technical Training Center
Date of foundation: 1963
Place: Makati-Manila.
Province: Philippines-North (FIN)

Technical education
Fifty years of official Salesian presence (52, to be exact) in the Philippines have created a name for Don Bosco in the field of technical education. In the North province, the two institutions for higher learning offer courses in engineering and in technical education. The five secondary schools carry a strong technical slant in their curriculum, giving their graduates a precious advantage upon entering the universities. But the biggest impact of Don Bosco-Philippines on the developing nation can be seen in the eight technical training centers for poorer youth. One-year courses in machine shop, electrical, automotive, and marine technologies open a bright future to young men and women, who would otherwise remain poor and unemployed.

In the Technical Training Center of Makati, more than 400 young men come daily for training. Thrice this number take the entrance tests each semester. Many come from the outlying rural areas, hoping to find eventual employment after hearing “success” stories of companions who find a job right after graduation. For most of them, acceptance into Don Bosco is their last chance for a better future

The technical director, Bro. Elmer Rodriguez, is the Salesian brother who faces this daily avalanche of students, and skilfully works with his team of shop-heads and instructors to ensure hands-on training for everyone in spite of the limited resources. After school-hours, he becomes a kind father to many of them, going all the way to find the needed lodging for these “probinsiyanos” (the local term for those who come from the rural areas), and never hesitating to say an encouraging word to each one

Going rural
After the 50th anniversary celebrations of Salesian presence (2001), the Salesians made a strong resolve to go rural, and to bring to the agricultural areas the experience of managing training centers. This decision was based on a serious reading of the Philippine situation; the country is still predominantly agricultural, and the youth in the rural areas are the poorest and most in need

The training center of San Jose (Nueva Ecija) is four-hours away from the city of Manila, and is situated in the middle of rice paddies. Farmers in this large area are expected to provide rice for the rest of the country but remain stuck in their outdated technology and in poverty. Through a well-designed training program, young farmers are given the opportunity of upgrading their agricultural skills. In a special way, they are introduced to machinery developed for the small farmers, and are taught how to use and maintain such equipment. In the workshops for mechanical and automotive technology, instructors handle equipment and direct projects that are meant for tilling the land and harvesting the crop. At present, there are 63 trainees, 29 in agro-mechanical technology. Since 1996, 410 students have been graduated, 60% of whom are employed, and 25 %, self-employed in their own farms

Similar experiences are happening in the training centers of Naga (Camarines Sur) and Banquerohan (Albay), the coconut-producing area of the country but unfortunately the most typhoon-prone. Again, young farmers are given a chance to learn and get updated, and become agents for sustainable rural development.

Youth at risk
Don Bosco has benchmarked education and youth ministry in the Philippines with its educational apostolate and with the Salesian Youth Movement. The schools of Makati and Mandaluyong each have an enrolment of more than four thousand students, and aim to form servant-leaders for the country. For many years, the animators and leaders of the various groups of the Salesian Youth Movement have been active in their respective parishes, centers, and dioceses. The Salesian Institute of Catechetics and Youth Ministry works hand-in-hand with the national secretariate for youth ministry, and with the Asian youth-desk.

However, in response to the demands of the present situation, Salesians have embraced the ministry on behalf of youth at risk. In Metro-Manila, a vast developing metropolis, they have their hands full with streetkids and abandoned youth everywhere. A large center, Tuloy sa Don Bosco (which means Welcome to Don Bosco), has become the home for many of these youths. Here they are assured of shelter and education, and the loving presence of Salesians and lay volunteers.

Fr. Salvador Pablo, superior of the house in Makati City, is one of those in the frontline. He supervises Pugad sa Don Bosco (which means Nest in Don Bosco), a parish-based welcome and drop-in center for streetkids, which at present houses 100 kids.

Indirizzo: Salesians of Don Bosco
Provincial Office,
P.O.Box 2420
MCPO1264 Makati City,
Metro Manila
Tel: +63 2-893.82.27
Fax: +63 2-893.89.18
Web sito: