The hot balmy Friday afternoon of May 14, 2021 witnessed the ceremonial groundbreaking of the three-classroom, single-story building at the Talogtog-Bateng Elementary School in Mangaldan, Pangasinan, which is donated by Philippine Allied Enterprises Corporation (PAEC), the official importer and distributor of Bridgestone tires in the Philippines. The construction of the classrooms was done in coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd) and Friends of Hope Inc., and in partnership with the Alfonso Lee Sin Memorial Lodge 158.
The construction will take approximately five to six months to be completed and the new building is designed to replace the three makeshift classrooms that were constructed of lumber and plywood, which were cycled between grade levels and functions, but were beginning to rot, and was hot during summer and leaking during the rainy season. Bridgestone Philippines hopes to improve the lot of the elementary students who come from the families living in the surrounding barangays of Talogtog and Bateng, especially when face-to-face education resumes after the pandemic.
During her opening remarks, Talogtog-Bateng Elementary School Principal Alma V. Jomero expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Bridgestone Philippines, Friends of Hope, and the Alfonso Lee Sin Memorial Lodge 158 for choosing to donate the construction of the classrooms to their school. She said that the new classrooms will augment the newly constructed multi-classroom, three-story building that was constructed by the government, which will help improve the quality of education among their students and bring change to the lives not only of the children, but also to the families in Mangaldan.
For her part, DepEd Public Schools District Supervisor Minerva D. Serafica praised Bridgestone Philippines not only as a builder of quality tires but also as a builder of “bridges of stone” that will bring hopes to the lives of the children studying in the Talogtog-Bateng Elementary School. She quoted an inspirational phrase, “We earn a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give” and added that Bridgestone Philippines lived up to its name by bridging hope and encouragement to the local school children.
“As Free Masons of Pangasinan, we consider it our solemn duty to help our fellowmen, especially those who are underprivileged”, declared Ernie C. Llanillo, the Worshipful Master of the Alfonso Lee Sin Memorial Lodge 158. “We hope that our efforts in this endeavor with Bridgestone Philippines will help bring back the excitement to the children when they go back to school after the pandemic.” He offered the support of their Masonic Lodge 158 with Senior Warden Zeus Cruz and Junior Warden Paul Co, Jr.
Talogtog-Bateng Elementary School Teacher Lemuel C. Bautista, who emceed the ceremonies with Teacher Myla M. Sevillena, narrated how surprised the whole faculty and staff with the fast phase and the quick turn of events. “We submitted our position paper via email to the Friends of Hope in 2020, and we didn’t expect much since we knew there were a lot of other schools that they were considering. But in March 5, 2021, we were visited by Sir Allan Santos of Bridgestone Philippines, who returned after a few weeks with his team to make a video of our school and the state of our classrooms. We feel lucky and blessed.”
“I am a proud product of our country’s public school system”, exclaimed Allan P. Santos, the marketing manager of PAEC/Bridgestone Philippines. “I am thankful for public school teachers who have labored through thick and thin to coach, develop and mold the minds of young children and turn them into responsible citizens of our nation. It is my hope that this 3-classroom, 1-story building will be the first among the many projects that I will spearhead to help our young students, which is a sentiment that I share with my bosses, PAEC President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Marc Tagle and Vice President (VP) Leslie Tagle-Dinglasan. I hope to ‘pay-forward’ the blessing I got when I was a public school student.”
After the speeches, everybody proceeded to the construction site where a time capsule was filled with memorabilia, including a copy of the May 14, 2021 issue of The Philippine STAR newspaper, a printout of the email sent by the school to the Friends of Hope, the artist’s rendition of the finished building, and the Program of activities for the day. The time capsule was sealed by Bridgestone Philippines’ Alllan Santos and then lowered into the ground, where the ceremonial soil topping was executed by Talogtog-Bateng Elementary School Principal Jomero, District Supervisor Serafica, Worshipful Master Llanillo and Santos, and witnessed by Senior Warden Zeus Cruz, Junior Warden Paul Co, Jr., and the teachers, faculty and staff of the school.
In cooperation with PAEC / Bridgestone Philippines, Power Wheels Magazine will report on the status of the ongoing construction of the classroom building in succeeding posts. Watch out for the videos and developments here and on our YouTube channel, Power Wheels TV Cruise Control.