By Francis Wakefield
Construction of the fishermen’s shelter, a multipurpose facility being jointly built by different stakeholders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Northern Luzon Command (AFP-NoLCom) continues in the most isolated and northernmost uninhabited island of the country.
AFP-NoLCom spokesman Lt. Col. Isagani Nato said building the facility for the fishermen in Mavulis Island of Itbayat in Batanes province was a big challenge for NoLCom as it ensures the natural obstacles and other hindrances they meet along the way.
The project, which started its consolidation and transport of building materials in the first week of April, is expected to be completed by the end of August. No less than AFP-NolCom is spearheading the project.
“A difficult task to meet as the ground works and transportation are affected by the weather and proximity of the island to its adjacent inhabited island of Itbayat,” Nato said.
“Moreover, the Mavulis project has a unique set of works program being monitored on a weekly basis since it started. It allows flexibility of sequence as it engages stakeholders’ efforts in the share of construction materials,’ he added.
Nato said that due to inclement weather throughout the adventurous ship-to-shore unloading of materials, the project is currently 10 percent below critical path as scheduled.
He said this means that difficulties in the loading and unloading of materials from its point of origin to the island were experienced by NoLCom personnel and civilian volunteers.
“As a result, the earthworks have started late (10 percent completion) while the timeline reaches week 9 (first week of June). However, as the weather permits, scope of works can be expedited given the available materials onsite and the number of personnel available for the construction (100 percent complete for both the troop hutment and hauling of construction materials),” Nato said.
He said the completion of the fishermen’s shelter will increase presence of local fishermen in the region contributing to the protection and management of our marine resources, as well as enhancing the information gathering around this northern maritime area.
Nato said the materialization of this endeavor is through the active participation and cooperation of the local government units (LGUs) of Batanes and the community, with the AFP. On March 23, a presentation of manifesto of support by the LGUs of Batanes and a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the AFP and stakeholder sponsor was signed in Basco, Batanes.
Signatories to the MOA were the AFP chief of staff, AFP, the NoLCom commander, Batanes governor and the president of Republic Cement and Builders Materials Incorporated as key sponsor.