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Monday, April 12, 2010

Philippine and U.S. forces complete road project that supports Partners in Peace

By Sulu Province Information Office, Marine Battalion Landing Team 4 and Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines Public Affairs.

ZAMBOANGA, Philippines – Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) Marines and U.S. Special Forces turned over a resurfaced road to the Sulu Provincial Government April 1.

Joint Task Force Comet (TF Comet) and Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) worked together to facilitate the improvements to the four kilometers road project that connects the Maimbung and Parang Municipalities.

“The Maimbung-Parang Road turnover ceremony marks another significant accomplishment by the Partners in Peace to bring peace and development to the region,” said U.S. Army Maj. Joel Thomas, Task Force Sulu (TF Sulu) Commander. TF Sulu is one of three task forces that is part of JSOTF-P and works with TF Comet to conduct a variety of humanitarian and engineering projects. TF Sulu force works side-by-side with military forces and local government agencies to bring peace and prosperity to the Sulu Province.

JSOTF-P funded the road project and Marine Battalion Landing Team 4 (MBLT-4) provided security to the local contractors conducting the road improvements.

“This project would not have been possible without the close cooperation between the local barangay [neighborhood] officials, residents and MBLT-4 ensuring the security of the construction workers,” said Thomas. “The completion of this road project demonstrates the resolve of the people who have chosen peace and development for their municipality.”

Residents now enjoy smooth and faster travel because of the wide and well-paved road. Local farmers can now easily transport their harvested farm products to the market at a lower cost. Gone are the days of travel over the rough and rugged road.

During the turn-over ceremony, Gov. Abdusakur M. Tan praised TF Comet and JSOTF-P for the initiative in repairing the Maimbung-Parang Road. He appreciated the new strategy of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in combating terrorism through socio-economic projects that lead to progress and development.

“We prefer to provide assistance to development projects rather than engage in armed conflicts,” said Philippine Marine Lt. Col. Elias C. Juson Jr., Commanding Officer of MBLT-4. Juson also expressed his gratitude to the Barangay officials for their cooperation and to the civilian contractors for their courageous effort in making this project possible.

TF Comet and TF-Sulu have several projects underway and are continuously conducting surveys for future projects. The TF Sulu commander noted that there has been a significant decrease in lawless activity in the area since the beginning of the project.

“TF Comet and TF Sulu continue to work closely with the Provincial Government to bring projects to Sulu to improve the lives of the population and foster a long-lasting peace,” concluded Thomas.

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