U.S. Navy Capt. James Meyer, commodore of Pacific Partnership's Task Force Forager, passes the key to Caba National High School to Josefina Samy during a ribbon cutting ceremony.(U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. James Gulliver)

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Philippines - Pacific Partnership 2015 held three ribbon cutting ceremonies Aug. 10 and 11 here to celebrate the completion of three construction projects.

Twelve personnel from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Five (NMCB 5), forward deployed to Okinawa, Japan, began construction and renovation of Eulogio Clarence M. De Guzman Elementary School, Caba National High School and Boy-Utan Elementary School June 18.

When the Military Sealift Command joint high speed vessel USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3) arrived in the Philippines Aug. 4, Seabees from Amphibious Construction Battalion (ACB) One in Coronado, Calif., ACB-2 in Little Creek, Va., and Marines from the 7th Engineer Support Battalion at Camp Pendleton, Calif., assisted in the construction efforts.

“This project of the U.S. Armed Forces and the Philippines Armed Forces with the Department of Education is considered to be a great labor of love,” said Commander, Naval Task Force 11, Philippines Navy Capt. Albert Mogol. “What makes the building stronger is the cooperation of American and Filipino people. Thank you to all those who have made this school building a reality. The U.S. and Philippines have a long standing history. This building will stand for a long time, representing a partnership between our two countries.”

At Eulogio Clarence M. De Guzman Elementary School and Caba National High School, the engineering teams constructed a school building, including two classrooms, consisting of roofing, interior lighting, fans, electrical outlets, doors, windows, paint, and a custom black board.

At Caba National High School, the team also constructed a new bathroom and installed toilets, tiles, plumbing and a septic system.

At Boy-Utan Elementary School the team built a new roof, ceilings, electrical, interior walls, windows, doors and paint.

“We thank you so much, especially our friends from the Philippines and United States Armed Forces,” said Municipal Mayor, the Honorable Eulogio Clarence Martin P. De Guzman III. “The Americans have always been there for us. They have given us freedom and never turned their backs on us. Thank you very much from the bottom of our hearts.”

The construction and renovation projects required 113 cubic meters of concrete, 10,225 square feet of corrugated steel roofing, 4,130 blocks, 16 windows, 20 doors, 10 electrical outlets, three faucets, two sinks, two toilets, one urinal, one septic tank, eight interior lights, four power outlets, two light switches, 300 linear feet of electrical wire, 2,275 square feet of roofing insulation, and 7,945 square feet of paint.

“As you can imagine from looking at new school before you, building Eulogio Clarence M. De Guzman Elementary School was no easy feat,” said Commodore, Task Force Forager, Capt. James Meyer. “Philippine and U.S. engineers worked tirelessly to build this school.

“Now this new two-classroom school will support a comfortable learning environment for approximately 120 students,” he added.

According to Meyer, the new school building symbolizes what Pacific Partnership is all about – working together to build relationships, achieving solid results with positive impacts, bringing the two countries together for future cooperation.

The renovations and new buildings will improve education opportunities for 650 children at Caba National High School, 120 students for Eulogio Clarence M. De Guzman Elementary School, and 150 students at Boy-Utan Elementary School.

Despite half the team being delayed due to Typhoon Egay, the teams persevered and accomplished the project on time.

“The team faced numerous challenges, but alongside the 548 Engineering Construction Battalion at Eulogio and Caba, as well as the 1st Naval Waterfront Construction Battalion at Boy-Utan, the teams were able to overcome all obstacles,” said Lt. j.g. Nicolaas van Wyngaardt, San Fernando City officer in charge for NMCB-5.

“It seems like such a short time that so much has been accomplished,” he added. “In only 43 days, the joint teams on each site completed a total of three schools.”

NMCB-5 also successfully completed two suspension bridges with the assistance of the Armed Forces of the Philippines 522 Engineer Construction Battalion.

“The bridges serve as the only access for locals and children during typhoon season when flooding [occurs],” said van Wyngaardt.

Now in its tenth iteration, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. While training for crisis conditions, Pacific Partnership missions to date have provided medical care to approximately 270,000 patients and veterinary services to more than 38,000 animals. Additionally, the mission has provided critical infrastructure development to host nations through the completion of more than 180 engineering projects.