US, Philippine Seabees build school, strengthen friendships

Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3
Courtesy Story

Date: 02.01.2014
Posted: 02.13.2014 17:54
News ID: 120602

PALAWAN, Philippines - Rain could not dampen the euphoria surrounding the Macarascas Baranguay in Palawan, Republic of the Philippines, early Saturday morning, Feb. 1, for a dream had come true for Vicky Aquino, principal of Macarascas Elementary School.

Twenty-three Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 partnered with the Armed Forces of the Philippines Navy Seabees to build a two-room school house, replacing the dilapidated building that had outlasted its useful life.

"My dream has come to life," said Aquino as she thanked the combined engineering team. A sentiment echoed by her students.

"This building symbolizes the transformation of what Macarascas Elementary School is today," said Rocelle Clarisse L Bermudez, the 11-year-old student body president. "This leads to new trials and challenges facing pupils of today's generation who will continue to pass on the torch of success to the next generation."

U.S. Navy Capt. Rodney Moore, commander, 30th Naval Construction Regiment (NCR), joined the occasion.

"Building strong partnerships with our brothers and sisters in the Armed Forces of the Philippines strengthens the bond between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines.

The commodore thanked the Philippine Marines for providing security, Philippine Seabees for their work ethic and the local villagers for their hospitality. He declared to Philippine Navy Adm. Manuel Natalio A. Abinuman, commander, Naval Forces West, that the NMCB 3 mission was complete.

"The U.S. Seabees improved infrastructure, increased host nation engineering capacity and fostered enduring relationships," stated Moore.

Abinuman reaffirmed Moore's remarks, "The spirit of the cooperation will last much longer than the three-month and 25-day construction period and will provide a lasting symbol of our two country's strong ties."

Abinuman then presented each Seabee, U.S. and Filipino, with a letter of appreciation.