U.S. envoy visits US-RP projects in Cotabato, Maguindanao

April 9, 2010 10:35 pm 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, April 9 —U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Leslie A. Bassett has turned over a steel-and-concrete bridge to the municipal government of Libungan in North Cotabato, which the U.S. government funded at P1.49-million.

Spanning the Demapaco Creek, the new bridge replaces a dilapidated bailey bridge and will provide 6,000 residents, farmers, and traders of Barangay Sinawingan safe passage, even during rainy seasons.

The Sinawingan bridge is one of more than 1,100 infrastructure projects that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has constructed in the conflict-affected areas of Mindanao to help accelerate economic growth.

There are plans to construct about 600 additional infrastructure projects in the region over the next few years, according to the U.S. embassy.

Bassett visited North Cotabato on April 7 and 8.

She also visited a resettlement area near the municipality of Talayan in Maguindanao province for internally displaced persons in central Mindanao.

The envoy also visited a rural health clinic in Talayan and witnessed the community’s observance of the annual Child Health Week.

With support from USAID and the Department of Health, the annual event provides children with dietary supplements, immunization vaccines, and other child health services.

“The Talayan rural health unit represents a long and fruitful partnership in health between the U.S. Government and the Department of Health in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” said Bassett.

She also met with Bai Sandra Basar, a participant in the just-concluded President Obama’s Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship. She visited World Food Program and USAID book warehouses.

During her visit, Bassett discussed the business environment in Cotabato City and vicinity during a forum with leaders of various chambers of commerce, officials from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and North Cotabato local government units, and representatives of USAID. (PNA)

RMA/GJB

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