News: AFP, U.S. break ground with community members on HCA projects
Story by Lance Cpl. Michael Thorn
ALBAY, Philippines – Community leaders and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. armed forces joined together April 22 - 23 for groundbreaking ceremonies at Engineering Civic Assistance Program sites around the Albay province, Philippines.
The work done at the ENCAP sites represents a portion of the humanitarian civic assistance projects and events taking place as a part of Exercise Balikatan.
“Being here is special for us and the Filipinos,” said U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. Byron Jacobson, a civil affairs team chief. “We have the opportunity to help the local community with projects, while at the same time build strong inter-operability.”
The ceremonies took place at and celebrated the improvements being made in each of the ENCAP locations, including renovations of Tamaoyan Elementary School; construction of a comfort room in Barangay Pawa; construction of classrooms and a health clinic in Malobago; and construction of classrooms at Mercedes Elementary School.
“Everyone in the community appreciates our combined work,” said Philippine Army Cpl. Rene Dacoco, combat camera specialist. “It shows that we’re all here for the people.”
Humanitarian assistance and training activities enable our service members to get to know each other, train together, and provide assistance to local communities while strengthening the longstanding relationship between the Philippines and the U.S.
“These projects are a good way to meet with the locals and have a good interaction between both countries,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Roel Dauz, the operations chief of the U.S. service members at Tamaoyan Elementary School. “Both sides learning from each other and build a partnership for the two nations.”