By Wilnard Bacelonia
BALO-I, Lanao del Norte, March 28 (PIA-ICCC) – A newly reactivated Army Brigade is now involved in the massive reconstruction of the Marawi City’s 24-barangay most affected area (MAA), which is now under debris clearing.
According to Brigadier General (BGen) Ramon Ruiz, commanding officer of the 55th Engineering Brigade based here, the first batch of heavy engineering equipment arrived at Iligan Port on Feb. 1, 2019 purposely to help in the rehabilitation and rebuilding of Marawi under the supervision of Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM).
“Our two battalions were already deployed in Marawi helping in the construction of temporary shelters, schools and debris clearing joining the Joint Task Group Builders,” Ruiz explained.
Under “Horizon 2” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Program, the 55th Engineering Brigade will acquire 54 out of 248 assorted units of heavy equipment, which will be distributed on the four other Army Engineering Brigades, Navy and Air Force Engineers in the country.
The equipment, which have a contract price of P1.56 billion, were formally awarded by the Department of National Defense (DND) in a symbolic handover ceremony held at Lapu-Lapu Grandstand, Camp Aguinaldo, in Quezon City on Wednesday with DND Undersecretary Cardozo Luna representing Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. and deputy chief-of-staff for logistics, Maj. Gen. Pio Q. Diñoso III in attendance.
The army official also assured that just like any other engineering brigades, the 55th Engineering Brigade is capable of helping Marawi rise again.
“Despite our constraints, we do our best in any task that is given to us by our superiors because we are mission-oriented. Whatever we do, we do it to the best of our abilities for our country and for our people,” Ruiz stressed.
The 55th Engineering Brigade will also carry out the construction of a three-story building at Datu Saber Elementary School in Marawi City after the AFP’s Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City and GMA Kapuso Foundation, Inc. had signed an agreement Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Ruiz also clarified about AFP’s Civil Relations Service post on its social media account that the 55th Engineering Brigade is in need of a thousand skilled workers to help them in Marawi reconstruction.
“We are not hiring civilian workers. But the Philippine Army is actually recruiting candidate soldiers who need to undergo our regular recruitment process,” he said.
The four engineering brigades in the country is looking for skilled construction workers, engineering equipment operators, and mechanics who will be trained, enlisted as privates, and be assigned with the 55th Engineering Brigade and help in reconstructing Marawi.
“With the coming of the equipment which will increase our capability, we need people whose heart is for the service to our country and people,” Ruiz added.
The newly reactivated brigade is currently composed of 348 skilled soldiers and needing more people and resources. (WLBacelonia)