The Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) inaugurated new military facilities at Fort Magsaysay in Palayan, Nueva Ecija on Friday, May 21, under the "Tatag ng Imprastraktura para sa Kapayapaan at Seguridad" (TIKAS) program.
DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and DPWH Secretary Mark Villar spearheaded the joint inauguration, blessing, and turnover ceremony of the military facilities that were part of a P273-million infrastructure program at the 40,000-hectare Fort Magsaysay.
Fort Magsaysay, which houses the 7th Infantry "Kaugnay" Division (7ID), is the largest Philippine army camp in the country.
Among the inaugurated facilities were the new headquarters of the 7ID with a tactical operations center, two barracks for the enlisted personnel of the Special Forces Regiment (SFR Airborne), a four-story transient facility for the Light Reaction Regiment (LRR), and a two-story administration building.
The DPWH also allocated P85 million for the concrete works on the 7.261-kikometer (km) road nets from the SRR and LRR camps leading to the Molave Complex.
In his speech, Lorenzana thanked the DPWH for prioritizing the completion of the infrastructure programs for the military so they could have good living condition.
"I therefore enjoin the Philippine Army to reciprocate these projects through your patriotic service and professional excellence. Remember that these projects are funded by the taxpayers' money," he said.
"Sikapin nating pagibayuhin ang pagganap sa ating sinumpaang tungkulin na paglingkuran ang bayan at ang ating mga kapwa Pilipino. Pangalagaan natin ang tiwala at respeto ng sambayanan sa ating kasundaluhan (Let us strive to improve the performance of our sworn duty to serve the nation and our fellow Filipinos. Let us preserve the trust and respect of the public to our soldiers)," he added.
Meanwhile, Villar vowed to implement more infrastructure projects for the improvement of the 7ID's facilities as he underscored the critical role of the military in ensuring the security of the Filipinos.
These include an apartment, a grandstand, an office quarters for the Army Artillery Regiment, a barracks for the LRR, an administration building for the Special Forces, two training barracks, and a multi-purpose facility, among others.
"Kung tutuusin po, itong mga infrastructure support ay maliit na bagay kumpara sa inyong mga sakripisyo at serbisyo sa ating bayan (As a matter of fact, these infrastructure support are insignificant compared to your sacrifices and service to our nation)," he said.
A brainchild of President Duterte, the TIKAS program is a convergence project between the DPWH and the DND for the mutual benefit of the two agencies. This means that the DND can build infrastructure projects through the DPWH while they are also tasked to safeguard the latter's projects in conflict-afflicted areas.