GUIUAN, Eastern Samar, May 6 — Residents of Surok village in this town are looking forward of having a new school building which will also serve as evacuation center.

The United States Armed Forces Engineers and members of the Philippine Army through its Humanitarian Assistance Program of military exercise Balikatan 33-2017 is now constructing a two-classroom school building here.

Mayor Christopher Sheen Gonzales said on Saturday the building was also designed as evacuation center during emergencies.

“We have so many reasons to be thankful to the US Armed Forces here and the Philippine Army. The school project in Surok is more than just providing better learning environment for our students here but rather ensuring the safety of the children and the community itself in times of disasters,” Gonzales said.

Surok village chief Gloria Ecleo talked about the value of education and what it means for their children’s future.

“Education of our children here is the only thing we have,” she said. “And today was different because we knew that somebody thought we were that important.”

“We are so grateful for this project this will be of great help to us here in our village and this will really improve the lives of our children and also those from nearby villages,” Ecleo said.

Surok village has a population of 1, 487 persons with 368 households.

Meanwhile, 1st Lt. Martin Meehan, commanding officer of the US Marines Engineering, Alfa Company said that constructing schools was part of the PHL-US Balikatan 33-2017 Humanitarian Mission greater commitment to help restore the village structure destroyed by typhoon “Yolanda” in 2013.

Meehan lauded the US Marines and the Philippine Army who joined the said endeavour, saying they would learn from each other, improve inter-operability among militaries so that they both learn of what to do and work when future disaster strikes.(Jazmin Bonifacio/PNA)