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NEWS | June 24, 2024

Provincial Government of Batanes hosts dedication ceremony for disaster relief warehouse with 130th Engineer Brigade

By Spc. Devin Davis

U.S. Army engineers with the 523rd Engineer Support Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, conducted a dedication ceremony for the disaster relief warehouse they built with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, 513th Engineer Construction Battalion, 51st Engineer Brigade in Itbayat, Philippines, June 17, 2024.

The Provincial Government of the Province of Batanes hosted the ceremony, and in attendance were the Batanes Gov. Marilou Cayco, Municipal Mayor Sabas C. De Sagon, and service members from the Philippines and the United States.

The warehouse will store humanitarian aid supplies for the local population, bolstering their response to natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons.

“During and after the onslaught of calamities, it is always challenging for us to deliver necessary disaster response services and supplies to this island due to its proximity and very difficult transportation,” said Cayco. “Because of this problem, delivery of relief goods and repair materials are always delayed. Today, because of the U.S. kindness and generosity, we now have a logistic hub in Itbayat, which will enable us to deliver fast and efficient disaster operations and response to our people after calamities."

According to Cayco this is the first ever logistics warehouse on the island of Itbayat.

U.S. Army Soldiers, Philippine Army soldiers, and the local government officially broke ground in Itbayat, Batanes, on May 6, 2024. Over the next 36 days, the U.S. Army engineers and their Filipino counterparts worked rigorously to finish construction.

“Today we are standing on ground that serves to increase the resilience of Itbayat,” said Warrant Officer Elissa Pedelty, the project manager with the 84th EN BN. “The warehouse we built here, by the Philippines and U.S. Army Soldiers working together, is solely for the municipality of Itbayat and will increase the island’s ability to take care of the families that reside here.”

Capt. John Patrick M. Batilo, the project manager of 513th EN Construction BN, Philippines Army, led alongside Pedelty. Both showed unwavering dedication toward completing this project. Their collaborative efforts and ability to turn a vision into a tangible reality required meticulous craftsmanship and commitment.

“This warehouse is more than just a physical structure; it stands as a testament to our collective efforts to serve our community, uplift those in need, and pave the way for a brighter future for all,” said Lt. Col. Narciso B. Estares, representing the commander of 51st EN BD. “May this dedication ceremony serve as a source of inspiration, motivating us to continue striving towards a brighter tomorrow, united in our commitment to excellence and service. Let us honor our shared vision and dedication by dedicating this warehouse with a sense of pride, gratitude, and renewed purpose. Thank you for being a part of this significant milestone.”