Anna Carreon & Amy Chua | Jan. 26, 2017
What would it take for you to get a good education?
For students living in Sitio Dam and Sitio Bayabas in Tarlac, this would mean going around the highway and walking for almost an hour just to reach their school.
For years, students have struggled to go to their schools especially during the typhoon season. Intermittent weather and neck-high waters would prohibit students access to Armenia Integrated School and Sitio Dam Elementary School resulting in poor attendance and academic performance.
With the help of the Aboitiz Foundation and Pilmico Animal Nutrition Corporation (PANC), what would normally take them almost an hour’s worth of walking would now only take them 10 minutes following the turnover of a 200-meter bridge that connects the two sitios in Armenia, Tarlac City. In mid-December, the construction of this bridge was completed, benefitting over 4,000 residents in the local community of Armenia.
Roderic dela Cruz, PANC Assistant Vice President for Feedmill Operations, one of the proponents of the project said: “The construction of the Armenia bridge serves as a symbol of our growing partnership between these communities and Pilmico. We are privileged to partner with you as we advance business and communities together.”
“Napakagandang pasimula po ng taon ito para sa amin at sa mga residente ng aming barangay. Hindi na po kailangang umikot pa ng highway para lang makatawid sa Sitio Dam at Sitio Bayabas. Nagpapasalamat po kami sa lahat ng taong tumulong sa paggawa ng tulay na ito.”
-Carlos Castañeda, Barangay Captain, Armenia, Tarlac
Meanwhile, Aboitiz Foundation First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Maribeth Marasigan said: “For some, this may seem to be an ordinary bridge that connects Sitio Dam and Sitio Bayabas. But for many of us, this bridge connects lives, livelihoods, and dreams, especially of students of the schools nearby. It is such a relief to know that we have co-created a safer community, that children will no longer have to skip classes when the river’s water level increases, or that your communities will no longer be isolated during heavy rains.”