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    Balikatan participants finish engineering projects, conduct dedication ceremonies

    Balikatan participants finish engineering projects, conduct dedication ceremonies

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Peter Reft | A young girl walks toward a stage for a dance performance during a dedication ceremony...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Peter Reft 

    U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

    ORMOC CITY, Leyte -- Balikatan 2017 leaders from the U.S. military, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and local barangay offices conducted dedication ceremonies for engineering civic assistance projects for Surok, Don Carlos and Margen Elementary Schools in Eastern Samar and Ormoc City.

    After Philippine and U.S. service members saluted each other's national anthems, the ceremony continued with blessing ceremonies, ribbon cuttings, speeches and presentations of dedication plaques in memory of participating military engineer units.

    Military leaders thanked participants for their cooperation and assistance in successfully completing the classroom construction projects.

    "I would like to thank all the personnel present for showing U.S. service members hospitality," said U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Ryan Scott, commanding officer, Combined Joint Civil-Military Operations Task Force. "Balikatan gives us an opportunity to do meaningful work, to learn from each other, and to build personal relationships."

    Working shoulder-to-shoulder, Philippine, U.S. and Australian engineers built up relationship as well as new classrooms.

    "The project itself is beneficial for Filipinos because it will be forever there to be used by our stakeholders, the community and the students," said Philippine Army Corps of Engineers Capt. Armando Moncayo, Jr. "It will help improve the future of our country and better communities because of the better education offered to them."

    Balikatan engineers worked diligently with their construction projects and the community.
    "We were glad that they were able to build it successfully, even through the rain," said Virginia Lagramada, principal, Surok Elementary School.

    The new buildings serve not only as classrooms, but as venues for other purposes as well.

    "The [building, water storage, and repaired stage], and the school stage will be used monthly for celebrations and curricular activities," Lagramada said. "The new multipurpose building can serve as a library, a classroom and even as a shelter in case of a natural disaster."

    The teaching staff was also very grateful for all the things the participants had done for the school, she added.

    With the classrooms completed, Scott hopes the partnerships established over the construction work continue for the benefit of Philippine communities.

    "We know that when a typhoon comes through the area, much work will be needed to recover," Scott said. "It will also be a time when we are in need of friends to help shoulder the load, and that’s what brings us here today to share knowledge and expertise through exercise Balikatan."

    Balikatan is an annual U.S.-Philippine bilateral military exercise focused on a variety of missions, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counterterrorism, and other combined military operations.



    Date Taken: 05.17.2017
    Date Posted: 05.19.2017 00:16
    Story ID: 234123
    Location: GUIUAN, PH 

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