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AFP, JSOTF, DepEd, and USAID build new classrooms in Basilan

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Two High Schools in Isabela City are recipients of the collaborative projects between the Department of Education Region IX, Isabela City, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P).

Both Cabunbata National High School and Baluno National High School held ribbon cutting ceremonies on Thursday, June 27, 2013 for the new classrooms built through a U.S. government humanitarian assistance program.

Attendees at the ceremony included Provincial Administrator Tahira Ismael, Region IX Department of Education Superintendent Dr. Hilda Babon, Isabela City Mayor Cherry-Lyn Santos Akbar, and Joint Task Force-Basilan Commander Colonel Carlito Galvez.

The U.S. government was represented by representatives from USAID and JSOTF-P.

In her speech at Cabunbata National High School during the cutting ceremony, Mayor Cherry-Lyn Santos Akbar expressed her gratitude for the project which added an additional three classrooms and comfort rooms to the school. The school currently has more than 300 students enrolled.

“One year ago, this started with the parents and the principal, who brought their idea to the city, and we brought it to the AFP,” she said. “Isabela City is very fortunate to receive this funding and the untiring support from everyone involved.”

Col. Galvez echoed Mayor Akbar’s sentiments. He said that under his watch, the AFP would do their part to ensure the success of the schools and he would continue to pursue partnerships with these stakeholders to bring civil-military projects such like this to Basilan.

Baluno National High School Principal, Lyna Basri, explained that the new classrooms will move students out of old agricultural stockrooms into three new classrooms.

The new construction at each site includes a one story building with three classrooms, comfort rooms, septic tanks, and water tanks. The AFP nominated both schools for the funding program. This is the second of seven projects the JSOTF-P, in close collaboration with AFP, will complete this fiscal year in the southern Philippines.

Before Baluno National High School was chartered, the tremendous distance and cost made secondary education impossible for many children here, explained Basri. “This project was very well deserved,” she said. “This school is the fruit of the hard work, persistence and dedication of everyone involved.”

Principal Lyna Basri, Dr Hilda Babon and Mr Robert Burch cut the ribbon to dedicate the opening of three new classrooms at Baluno National High School.

The new building (far left) at Cabunbata National High School will accommodate 150 additional students. The school currently has more than 300 students enrolled. Press Release




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