BARANGAY OF SAN JOSE, Republic of Philippines --
Marines from 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade and the Armed Forces of the Philippines along with sailors from the Philippine Navy were on hand today during a dedication ceremony of Anastacio N.F. Dinglas Elementary school here, Oct. 20.
The ceremony culminated a month-long engineering civic action project where Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade and their Filipino counterparts rebuilt a two-room classroom in the school as part of Amphibious Landing Exercise 2011. Phiblex '11 is a bilateral training exercise conducted with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and is designed to improve interoperability, increase readiness and continue to build professional relationships between the two countries.
"The new facility is beautiful, durable and should last for years," said Arcely M. Lucero, principal, Anastacio N.F. Dinglas Elementary School. “So many improvements were made, they removed all the old stuff and the new classrooms will hold up to 90 students."
The old facility, constructed in the early 1960's was is need of a lot of repair, according to Lucero. The roof was old and rusted, causing it to leak when it rains; the wood was rotted and flushable toilets were not available.
Each of these issues was fixed with the new facility.
Additional improvements made during the project include the installation of an electronic water pump, gutter systems, and painting some of the tin rooftops.
"We would like to give our sincerest gratitude for all the support the Americans and the Filipino servicemen have given," Lucero added.
The United States Agency for International Development donated 45 chairs and desks for students, a desk and chair for the teachers and three chalkboards for each classroom.
In addition, the school was provided with sporting equipment and school supplies, according to Lucero.
"It's a great building and it will give the students a much more comfortable place for these children to study,” said Ens. Rosalito Renevira, project officer-in-charge for the Seabees, Philippine Naval Construction Battalion. Renevira said he was proud to be a part of something so meaningful, both for the children of Dinglas Elementary and for his fellow service members and brothers-in-arms.
"School is important because it provides students with knowledge and experience they will need in the future," Renevira said. “Hopefully the hardened-foundation of this new facility will help these children build their foundation in life."