US troops turn over school buildings to Palawan school execs

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Several school buildings that were constructed by the United States Armed Forces were turned over Sunday to the Philippines as part of the Civil-Military Operations of the annual Balikatan Exercises. Video by Frances Mangosing and Matikas Santos

PUERTO PRINCESA City, Palawan, Philippines- The United States Armed Forces (USAF) turned over to the Philippines several classrooms that they built as part of the 2012 Balikatan Exercises.

Lieutenant General Dwayne Thiessen, Commander of the US Marine Forces Pacific, meets and greets the students of Kandes Elementary School where one of five new school buildings built by US soldiers were turned over to the Philippines. MATIKAS SANTOS/

The two-classroom school building erected at Sitio (sub-village) Kandes, Barangay (village) Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City, was just one of five projects under the Engineering Civic Action Projects (ENCAP) of the Balikatan Exercises, Rear Admiral Victor Emmanuel Martir said in his speech at the turnover ceremony Sunday.

The other school buildings were built at Barangays Sta Cruz, Buenavista, and Inagawan where two of the school buildings were constructed, Martir said.

The project was expected to benefit 400 pupils, “and of course a number of out-of-school-youth” once the school year resumes, he said.

General Jesse Dellosa, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, said in his speech that they were witnessing “the realization of aspirations and the birth of hope for a more promising future.”

He hoped that the new classrooms would “propel the children of Puerto Princesa to seek for knowledge and the truth as we pursue a common aspiration to educate our youth.”

We “are planting the seeds of good relations in Palawan so that our future generations will harvest the fruits of this good relationship,” Dellosa said.

Lucilo Bayron, Puerto Princesa Vice Mayor, said in his speech that education was the “greatest equalizer in life.”

He said that the classrooms built by the US will remind the residents of the long friendship between the Philippines and the US.

“When the soldiers first came here we thought there was a war,” Anita Hugo, the teacher in charge of Kandes elementary school said in an interview.

“We did not know that we were chosen as the place where they will build the new classrooms,” she said.

Hugo said that they have 130 students from grade one to grade six, and now that they have new classrooms “all the students want to have classes here.”

The school buildings were constructed as a joint effort by all the soldiers, parents, and local officials. The costs for the materials were shouldered fully by the USAF, Hugo said.

She said that many of the students came from remote villages and sometimes had to walk up to seven kilometers just to go to school. Due to exhaustion from long-distance walking, students often came late and caught napping in class, she said.

Another problem they had was the high school being 20 kilometers away. She said that students were initially active in going to school but eventually dropped out because of losing patience of travelling by foot everyday.

She hoped that next time the Balikatan would be conducted they could construct high school buildings.

Originally posted at 2:56 pm| Monday, April 23 2012

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  • joboni96

    ang daming pilipino
    nagdodonate sa mga eskwelahan
    hindi nadyadyaryo

    malakas talaga
    u.s. propaganda infrastructure
    dito sa bayan natin

    courtesy of
    u.s. collaborators

  • joboni96

    tinatago pa
    mga unconstitutional
    u.s. stealth bases

    pati yung sibilyang
    napatay ng mga u.s. jsotf
    sa basilan

    mapapalitan ba niyan
    ng isang classroom

    bold letters pa

  • INQ_reader

    Kaya pala di maubus-ubos ang mga Abu Sayyaf.  Kung anu-ano ang inaatupag ng mga kano. Akala ko ba para mawala ang Abu Sayyaf kaya may VFA?

  • Issen

    I believe this was built both by US and Filipino troops, not just the US…..that’s why it’s called Balikatan.

  • Myra Cambodia

    good job, US-RP team…something positive and be grateful for…masaya ang mga estudyante 

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