Girl scouts membership down; officials hope for corporatization bill

Apr. 27, 2009

Tagum City — Membership of the Girls Scouts of the Philippines (GSP) decreased by about 50 percent and GSP officials are hoping to bring in more sponsors to shoulder registration fees of girls.

In a press conference, GSP national president Teresita B. Chao revealed that GSP membership is at 1.8 million only, a 50 reduction from 4 million during those days when the Department of Education (DepEd) still allowed collection of fees during enrollment.

Chao said that she, along with other national GSP officials, personally made an appeal

in a personal visit to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for GSP to continue collecting compulsory membership fees from every female student who enrolls in school.

She was made to understand that the national government wants to do away with fees collection during enrollment so that education can be fully accessible to every child, in adherence to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

Chao said she now pins her hopes on the passage of a bill filed in congress institutionalizing the GSP. Earlier, Deputy Speaker Ma. Amelita Villarosa of Occidental Mindoro filed House Bill (HB) 2626 “An act to create a corporation to be known as the Girl Scouts of the Philippines and to define its powers and purpose”.

To strongly push for this, Eastern Mindanao GSP council official, Norma Pereyras has asked all Girls Scout members in her region to send congress a letter of appeal to pass the bill.

Chao, however, made it clear that GSP has maintained its policy to stay away from politics.

Council officials may have their personal choice of political candidates during local and national elections but she said GSP strongly prohibits any member to bring the name of the organization during campaign sorties.

Chao added that council officials are asked to resign and to refrain from wearing the signature green GSP uniform should they openly take part in political campaigns.

In the meantime, membership may be down due to the Arroyo administration’s education policy but Chao said GSP leadership has gained successes in drawing sponsors, benevolent individuals in the private and government sectors, to either adopt girls or adopt a patrol.

They solicit support from local government units and other entities supportive of GSP while the GSP national leadership talks to officials of leagues of municipalities, cities and provinces.

Chao counted as a boost efforts and strategies that GSP council officials have been able to go on holding Girl Scout activities aimed at developing girls into fine ladies. (PIA XI/JMDA)

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