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Army engineers turn over Kalayaan projects to Calbayog barangays

By ELEEN LIM and NINFA B. QUIRANTE
September 24, 2009

CALBAYOG CITY, Samar  –  Five barangays from the northern part of Calbayog City received the fruits of their “liberation” from being affected by the insurgents: through the Kalayaan Barangays Program or KBP Projects of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Col. Arnaldo Fernandez, Jr, commander of the 53rd Engineer Brigade and Col. Arnolfo Atendido, commander of 803rd Infantry Brigade, turned over to city mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento and the five punong barangays the fully accomplished KBP projects package consisting of a 2-room school building, a health center and street lights.

The simple turn-over ceremony was held at Brgy. Peña in Tinambacan district.

Barangay officials, health workers and teachers of Barangays Peña, Cagmanipis Norte, Malaga, Tinaplacan and Bugtong received the projects worth P1.5 Million per package.

According to LtCol. Rizalito Tibon, the commanding officer of 543rd Engineer Construction Battalion, the Kalayaan Barangays Program of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was intended for conflict-affected communities all over the country.

It is given to barangays who lack basic infrastructure projects such as health centers, school buildings and water system.

The recipient barangays in Calbayog, according to Col. Tibon, were selected when the Special Operations Team (SOT) from the 20th IB conducted a pulong-pulong with the people as to their needs.

These needs were submitted to the National Development Command, which in turn, requested the funds from the President.

Residents noticed the good quality of work done by the army engineers.

Col. Tibon said, “Iyon lang po talaga ang gawain naming mga army engineers, lahat ng gawin namin, kailangan matibay, para hindi na magkaproblema ang ating mga communities, at hindi masira ang gobyerno.”

He added that army engineers are “service oriented,” hence whatever funds allocated for the project are being spent.

In case there are savings, they use it to buy tables and chairs for the teachers.

Col. Fernandez also promised to provide lavatories for the health centers and a complete set of computers for each of the school buildings.

Students, teacher and the rural folks showed their appreciation by applauding the army engineers.