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PIA Press Release

Footbridge from US to benefit school kids and farmers

MALAPATAN, Sarangani (24 September) -- Officials formally opened a footbridge Friday (September 21) that would benefit at least 7,000 villagers, including school kids and farmers who had to cross a 36-meter wide river in the past.

The P1.4 million suspension footbridge was built by the USAID's Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) program with a P207,797 counterpart from the municipal government.

Vice Governor Steve Solon said "with this bridge we were able to increase development."

Paul Jones (in blue polo shirt), United States Assistance for International Development (USAID) Deputy Chief of Mission, is joined by (from left) GEM economic chief Christian Hougen, economic advisor Robert Barnes, barangay captain Mateo Maguan, Mayor Aida Singcoy, and Vice Governor Steve Solon during the inauguration Friday, September 21, of the P1.4 million, 42-meter suspension footbridge in barangay Libi, Malapatan that will benefit about 7,000 residents. (Photo by PIO Sarangani/CAS)

"As far as I can remember, USAID has been a great partner to the Philippines especially in Sarangani," Solon said.

Paul Jones, USAID deputy chief of mission, led the ceremonial opening of the 42-meter bridge where farmers send on their products to the market.

"We're glad to be back here to help provide some small infrastructures that improve peoples' lives and may contribute to economic development and prosperity, helping people get products to markets," Jones said.

Malapatan town has received 10 of the 49 infrastructure projects in the province through the GEM program.

"It is also helping children get to school and the people to move and go where they need to go safely and securely," Jones said.

Before, school children in adjacent barangay Lun Masla cannot attend classes in Libi Elementary School when crossing the river gets dangerous.

Jones earlier in the day attended the Mindanao Business Conference in nearby General Santos City.

"And so together we believe we can help demonstrate that peace and prosperity really will continue to grow here in Mindanao and the United States government really wants to be a part of that," Jones added.

Libi and other parts of Malapatan had experienced conflicts during the height of a secessionist rebellion. (PIO Sarangani/RGP/PIA SarGen) [top]

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