The United States formally turned over to the Palawan provincial government a fully equipped disaster relief shelter worth P17 million built by its Naval Engineers, popularly known as Seabees.
The US Embassy in Manila said Friday the facility was built by their Seabees for residents of of Luzviminda in Puerto Princesa City as part of Washington DC’s efforts to strengthen alliance and cooperation with the Philippines.
Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron and village chief Laddy Gemang formally accepted the facility at a ribbon-cutting ceremony last May 30. The structure, which could also serve as a community center for elderly residents and persons with disabilities.
The fully equipped facility is the barangay’s first designated disaster relief shelter and will enhance the community’s resilience to natural calamities.
“Our collaborative effort with the Armed Forces of the Philippines in constructing the disaster relief shelter has yielded substantial results. It has bolstered engineering capabilities, enhanced inter-operability, and played a pivotal role in providing essential support during natural disasters,” US Navy Detachment Philippines Officer-in-Charge ENS Huy Duong said.
Philippine Navy Western Command (WESCOM) commander Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, for his part, said the shelter’s completion is a “significant milestone” in the two nations’ shared commitment to providing immediate and effective assistance to communities vulnerable to natural calamities and disasters.
“Disaster preparedness is a collective responsibility and we must work together across all sectors to serve the community, build resilience, and enhance our capacity to respond effectively to any future disaster that may come our way,” he said.
Mayor Bayron, meanwhile, extended his gratitude to the US and welcomed the presence of the US Navy Seabees in Puerto Princesa.
“You (US Navy Seabees) are always welcome in Puerto Princesa. We look forward to your continued presence here,” he said.
Aside from the shelter, the US Navy also constructed a basketball court in its vicinity which the community can use for recreational activities.
The US Embassy assured the US Navy Seabees will continue to collaborate with local government units on other infrastructure projects, including the construction of a classroom for the Carlos National High School in Brookes Point, Palawan. (With PNA)