Masbate youth now closer to dreams with PAMANA road

MOBO, Masbate—Students in this fourth-class municipality are now benefiting from a road project that allows them to travel to classes more conveniently.

Mobo, Masbate Umabay Interior-Canahig Road
The Umabay Interior-Canahig Road was opened in Mobo, Masbate, in 2012 under the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program. The new road, benefiting Barangays Umabay Interior, Sawmill, and Baang, now enables faster and easier transportation for farmers and other residents, including students who used to walk for more than an hour to get to class.

PAMANA is the national government’s program that extends development interventions to isolated, hard-to-reach and conflict-affected communities, ensuring that they are not left behind. It is the people’s peace and development program that empower communities through community-driven projects that address people’s needs and, at the same time, promote peace.

Mobo Mayor Percival Castillo lauded the effects of PAMANA projects, such as the Umabay Interior-Canahig Road, especially in streamlining public service delivery, improving quality of life, and reinforcing peace on the ground.

“They receive the government’s support," Castillo said in Filipino. "Their lives are now more comfortable. Public services are now rendered faster.”

More than 1,500 residents benefit from the said project. “Let people know that your municipality actually received a bridge and roads,” Undersecretary for Programs Gettie Sandoval told the residents.

Students of Umabay Interior are among those who benefit most. Before the road was opened under PAMANA, high school senior Alvin Bolod had to walk an hour and a half to school. When he ran late, he paid 30 pesos—over half of his 50-peso allowance—for a one-way trip to school on a tricycle.

The old road tended to become muddy and difficult to travel on. Grass on both sides would grow more than six feet high. Several sections were passable to only one person at a time.

Bolod also had to traverse three rivers on his way to school, where he would wait for his clothes to dry before he entered the classroom.

Janille Mae Tayongtong, grade 9, said that prior to the road opening, she often arrived late for school, missing her first period class. Now, she even arrives in time for the flag ceremony. Like Bolod, Tayongtong continues to struggle just to finish school—and the new road has been a big help.

The new road has reduced Bolod’s travel time by half an hour. With the time he saves, Bolod said that he has more time to devote to school work.

Bolod is now more optimistic. Though he works as a copra farmer, he understands how important education is. “If I skip school, I’d have no future except as a copra farmer,” he said in Filipino. Bolod said it would be great if he could at least finish high school, but his dream is to become an electrical engineer someday.

“The road helps me achieve my dreams,” Bolod said. “I’m really grateful. I want to thank everyone behind the PAMANA projects.” (PAMANA)

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