MARINE troops, with support from a California-based non-profit organization known as the “Books for the Barrios,” have turned over 2,989 books to two schools in Basilan, officials said.

The recipient-schools are the Parang Basak Central Elementary School and Badja Elementary School in the town of Tipo-Tipo, Basilan.

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The books were turned over in a rite held last Wednesday that was arranged by the Marine Battalion Landing Team-9 (MBLT-9) headed by Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Espinosa and District Schools Supervisor Naser Pasad.

Espinosa said the donation of the books was realized through the coordinated effort of Brigadier General Eugenio Clemen, chief of the 1st Marine Brigade, and “Books for the Barrios” President and Executive Director Nancy Stowe Hamington.

Arcie Taberoa and Hansira Harad, school principals of Parang Basak Central Elementary School and Badja Elementary School, respectively, said the books are of great help to their pupils from Grade 1 to 6 as they will have more reference materials to upgrade their quality of education.

They expressed their heartfelt thanks and gratitude to Hamington and Clemen for choosing their schools as beneficiaries of the program.

“Books for the Barrios” is a non-profit organization based on Concord, California that distributes books to children in impoverished areas. It began in 1981 among US Navy families who were stationed in the Philippines.

From 1981 to 1986, members of the group worked closely with other knowledgeable, motivated volunteers, as well as the US Navy and Philippine Airlines to distribute hundreds of thousands of books throughout the Philippines.

To date, “Books for the Barrios” has sent over 12 million books overseas, trained teachers in developing countries in a modern method of teaching and established over 50 Model-of-Excellence schools, helping millions of children throughout the world. (Bong Garcia)