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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Local Officials, AFP and JSOTF-P Celebrate Road Turnover

By Lt.j.g. Theresa Donnelly, Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines Public Affairs

JOLO, Philippines-Hundreds of government leaders, representatives from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines gathered for the opening of a new road in Barangay (community) Kandayok Nov. 28.

The 1.9 kilometer Kandayok-Bagsak road runs through several isolated barangays throughout the Talipao municipality. Many of the residents here rely on farming for their income and previously had limited ways to get their produce to market.

Additionally, residents can now travel on this road to attend schools and access medical care.

Up to this point, only powerful four-wheel-drive vehicles could travel throughout the region, contributing to the economic instability in the area.

JSOTF-P funded the project and hired local contractors, beginning the project in September. Additionally, AFP’s Marine Battalion Team-11 provided security during the construction. Members of AFP and JSOTF-P supervised all aspects of the construction, ensuring that the road met all inspection requirements.

At the turnover ceremony, Ahmad Puddi, the chairman for Barangay Bagsak, spoke of the significance of the road and the collaborative efforts of JSOTF-P and the AFP.

“Because of this road, it is now much easier for our people to transport their goods. Thanks to all of you. Without the AFP and U.S. forces, there would be no good road,” he said.

Also in attendance for the turnover was Hon. Abdusakur M. Tan, Governor of Sulu province, Brig. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, commander for Joint Task Force Comet, and U.S. Army Maj. Scott Malone, JSOTF-P Task Force Sulu commander.

The ceremony concluded with a Medical Civic Action Project in the Barangay Kandayok, where AFP and JSOTF-P medical staff treated more than 120 patients.

“This road is good and will allow for more comfortable travel. I can now transport my corn and casaba more easily to the market,” said a farmer who lives in the area.

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