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PIA Press Release

Army engineers build 24 schools for Bohol in '09

Tagbilaran City (30 October) -- IN places where government projects to be implemented find no takers, call on the 53rd Army Engineers.

Fulfilling its mandates in implementing peace and development projects hand in hand with its counterparts active internal security operations, the Bohol based 53rd Engineer Battalion of the Philippine Army has erected 24-two classroom school buildings this year as they waged another kind of war, not with fire-arms.

Surprising many communities with their construction skills, uniformed men under the unit get to far-flung communities brandishing tools of infrastructure development and not fire-arms.

"When we are tasked with the mission of implementing a project that no private contractor is willing to risk, we put all our resources and our men's lives on the line, all for the cause of peace and development," said LtCol. Ramon Ruiz, commander of the Cabulijan Tubigon based engineering support battalion.

He claims his army unit undertakes basic infrastructure works as construction of school buildings, health centers, farm to market roads, bridges, electrification projects, water system facilities and other utilities in support of the government's development program, but does not compete with the private contractors.

"Projects, which private contractors find unattractive could not just be left unimplemented," he stressed.

Projects that are out in far-flung areas often inaccessible to transport or which expose many private contractor's assets to risk drop into the army engineers' laps.

Projects in island barangays or way-off the main road entail double handling, and the overhead costs discourage contractors, making them back off, explains the army engineer commander at the Kapihan sa PIA, Thursday.

Moreover, projects that the army implements often save funds for the government as the labor costs, which accounts to about 25-30% of the project. The government saves on administrative and labor costs, the saving we use to complete the furnishings: monobloc chairs, teachers' tables and iron rebars on the windows to secure the buildings, he said.

Here in Bohol, the engineer unit coordinates with Governor Erico Aumentado to get the list of projects which the government funds and the unit to implement. (PIA) [top]

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