When night fell and it was time to go home, teachers Ana Mariel Cruz and Charlie Cabanao always had to find someone to accompany them on the dark school grounds as they feared there might be troublemakers lurking in the vicinity.
Cruz and Cabanao both teach at the Cebu City Central Extension School in Barangay Ermita, one of the most densely populated urban communities in Cebu.
Like others who live in similar places across the country, the two educators share the same concern regarding their safety and security.
“Honestly, I never wanted to stay in the classroom for long when there aren’t people around anymore,” Cruz said in Cebuano.
“We wait for each other after classes are over. We’re not comfortable going home on our own,” Cabanao added.
Since they mostly spend their time inside school premises, they are not that familiar with the community.
With only the light coming from the school building corridors served as illumination for the school grounds and galvanized iron sheets serving as a temporary perimeter fence, trespassing and burglary were prevalent in the area.
In an effort to address these concerns not only in Ermita, but in other places in the country as well, AboitizPower’s Oil Business Unit, in partnership with Aboitiz Foundation, donated solar-powered lamp posts to light up selected beneficiary communities.
Cebu Private Power Corporation (CPPC) donated four units to Ermita-Cebu City Central Extension School; Therma Marine, Inc. gave 11 units to Brgy. Sta. Ana in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte and eight units to Nabunturan National Comprehensive High School in Compostela Valley; while Therma Mobile, Inc. donated 16 units to the City of Navotas.
“Back then, we could never tell if there were intruders in the school because it was really dark. Ever since we received the solar lamps, we are now more confident that trespassers and crooks will be kept out,” Cabanao said.
Meanwhile, Cruz said she no longer fears for her safety when walking on school grounds at night.
Mark Miral, Ermita barangay captain, expressed his delight over the project.
“First of all, we don’t have a budget to provide the same to our school here. Not only is it very useful, but it is also friendly to the environment,” he said.
Joselito Miasko, chairman of the School Governing Council of Ermita, said the project will help deter crimes in the area as well-lighted streets would keep “bad elements” away.
“In line with our vision of advancing business and communities, we continue to search for opportunities to uplift the lives of the various stakeholders within the communities we are a part of. Initiatives like these that address the safety and security of our community are a win for all stakeholders, ourselves included,” said Danel Aboitiz, President and Chief Operating Officer of AboitizPower’s Oil Business Unit.