U.S., Philippine troops repair school

| May 1, 2015 | 0 Comments

 

Philippine Army engineers assigned to the Post Engineer Detachment at Fort Magsaysay, Philippines, and U.S. Army engineers assigned to the 797th Engineer Company, reconstruct a broken perimeter wall at Calikid Norte Elementary School, Cabanatuan City, Philippines, April 21, during Exercise Balikatan.

Philippine Army engineers assigned to the Post Engineer Detachment at Fort Magsaysay, Philippines, and U.S. Army engineers assigned to the 797th Engineer Company, reconstruct a broken perimeter wall at Calikid Norte Elementary School, Cabanatuan City, Philippines, April 21, during Exercise Balikatan.

Story and photos by Sgt. Marty Borton
367th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
U.S. Army Reserve

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Philippines — Philippine and U.S. soldiers were joined by local citizens to make improvements in Calikid Norte, Cabanatuan City, here.

The 797th Engineer Company, 411th Eng. Battalion; 405th Civil Affairs Bn., 364th CA Brigade; the Philippine army’s 7th Civil Military Operations Genuine Well-rounded Advocates of Peace and Order (GWAPO) Bn., Post Engineer Detachment; and members of the local populace joined together during Exercise Balikatan to complete community work projects at the Calikid Norte Elementary School. The joint community relations project focused on addressing areas of greatest concern to the school administration.

“They are helping the school bring running water into three classrooms, replacing a low-hanging electrical wire and rebuilding part of the perimeter wall that’s in disrepair,” said Capt. Dane Sawyer, team leader, 405th CA Bn.

“It’s a good project to help the students at the school,” said Philippine army 2nd Lt. Gebely Castigador, community relations officer in charge of the project, 7th CMO, GWAPO Bn. “They could use the water facilities and will help build the school more beautiful.”

The 797th Eng. Co. and Post Eng. Det. prep a broken section of a perimeter wall for reconstruction at Calikid Norte Elementary School,  April 21.

The 797th Eng. Co. and Post Eng. Det. prep a broken section of a perimeter wall for reconstruction at Calikid Norte Elementary School, April 21.

Gaudelia Delbaltista, a first grade teacher at the school, says she and her students are very happy about the projects to improve the school. The faculty was also concerned about the electrical wiring.

“I was scared they might get electrocuted,” Delbaltista said.

Local welders assisted by constructing new wire-hanging points that raised the elevation of the wiring, and Philippine army electricians ran new wiring safely out of the reach of students. The welders also provided assistance to the wall project by building rebar pillars that were later filled with concrete. Local masonry experts joined the project as well by rebuilding a broken section of the school’s perimeter wall.

“It improves the security of the building so people can’t get in here and steal stuff,” said Delbaltista. “It also makes the students feel more secure.”

The faculty thanked all of the volunteers who assisted in improving the school.

“The school feels very good and the job done by the U.S. and Philippine (armies) is excellent,” said Delbaltista. “They have really good cooperation and understanding during these projects, and they have really good teamwork.”

The project was possible due to cooperation between the community and the Philippine and U.S. Army.

“The beautiful thing about this project is that it’s completely joint,” said Sawyer. “(Funding) and expertise made it possible to help the safety and future of the kids here.”

“I appreciate the presence of my U.S. counterparts, and I believe the people here are thankful for all the support given to us,” said Castigador.

This is the second year participants of Balikatan have helped improve Calikid Norte Elementary School. Last year the U.S. and Philippine armies repainted walls and built a watershed.

 

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Category: Exercises, News

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