Gawad Kalinga and Metrobank Foundation organized the Designer Village Challenge last January 30, 2009 at the Adamson University Theater. The challenge is a call to architecture schools and students to get involved in Gawad Kalinga by coming up with architectural designs that will benefit especially the less privileged of Philippine society. Present during the launching were big names in the field of architecture and related fields like Bobby Manosa, Bong Recio, Jun Palafox, Leo Almeria, Edith Oliveros, Metrobank Foundation President Aniceto Sobrepena, Mr. Placido Mapa, GK Founder Tony Meloto, and Adamson University President Fr. Gregg L. Banaga, C.M. among others. Adamson University and its College of Architecture served as host.
The dean of the College of Architecture of Adamson University, who is also the President of the Council of Deans and Heads of Architecture Schools in the Philippines took on the challenge on behalf of Adamson University and CODHSP. The following is her speech:
Adamson Takes on the Challenge
by Dean Jean I. Cornejo
Distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen, good afternoon.
As the President and speaking on behalf of the Council of Deans and Heads of Architecture Schools in the Philippines, I accept and take on the Designer Village Challenge organized by Gawad Kalinga and the Metrobank Foundation. We are taking on the challenge because we believe in its cause.
First, the poor Filipino family deserves a decent, clean, and a beautifully designed home. Second, we believe that a community, or its surroundings, must be safe, attractive, and pleasant, and must have the presence of cooperation and helpfulness among its neighbors.
Most of our urban areas are filled with informal settlers which depict images of dilapidation, vandalism, and ruins that are reflected in the lifestyle and behavior of ordinary Filipinos.
Our several visits to depressed areas opened the students’ consciousness of the plight of our poor countrymen. Gone are the days when architecture students spent their whole college life inside the drafting rooms. We felt the need to bring our students out into the field to let them see and think of creative ways of what and how they can contribute to nation building.
Through their community immersion, based on their class sharing and reflections written on their journals, the students developed a sense of responsibility and a deeper understanding of the conditions of the poor. They have learned to discover their role as citizens of this country and enabled themselves to explore a lot of things that they can possibly do to help.
At this point, we in the academic community acknowledge and admire the leaders and volunteers of GK for their love of our country by uplifting the dignity of the Filipinos. They initiated building homes and communities that are beautiful, colorful, and complete. We recognize the kind heart of Metrobank Foundation in sponsoring this noteworthy project—this time focusing its attention on students who can make a difference.
As the third party in this campaign, the Schools of Architecture all over the country pledge to take on the challenge and specifically for Adamson Architecture, we reaffirm our partnership by designing the best for the least and help transform the lives of these people through their designs.
In closing, may I share with you where we draw our inspiration here in Adamson, a few lines taken from An Adamsonian’s Prayer written by a young Vincentian priest. It says,
...May Your special Love for the Poor,
The mark of my uniquely Vincentian education,
Be the work I excel in…
Thank you very much!