Philippines and U.S. military end humanitarian relief operations in Balikatan > U.S. Indo-Pacific Command > 2015

Philippines and U.S. military end humanitarian relief operations in Balikatan > U.S. Indo-Pacific Command > 2015

Philippine Armed Forces and U.S. Armed Forces service members successfully complete a series of humanitarian civil assistance efforts focused on community health efforts, engineering civil service projects, and civil-military efforts during Exercise Balikatan 24 did.

From March 26 to May 9, a team of 305 U.S. and AFP civil-military planners, professional medical professionals, engineers, and chaplains built a school and community health center in Aurora. , managed medical and dental services and distributed school supplies and classroom technology. , La Union, Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Palawan.

HCA’s goals are to improve infrastructure, strengthen medical response, and strengthen relationships between local communities and the Philippine and American militaries. Eleven months of planning between AFP and the US culminated in Balikatan HCA.

“The alliance between our two countries is stronger than ever due to our mutual interests and shared hearts,” said Marine Col. David J. Fennell, U.S. commander of the Civil-Military Joint Operations Task Force. Ta. “As partners, it makes sense for us to work together for the benefit of the Filipino people.”

Community health activities included providing medical and dental evaluations and care, teaching basic life-saving techniques to local residents and medical workers, and donating pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. Additionally, the exchange of experts on the subject was facilitated. Military health professionals ranged from dental surgeons to behavioral health providers to entomologists. Across the five communities, a total of 795 medical patients and his 550 dental patients were treated, and 500 people received education on various topics such as basic lifesaving, preventive medicine and water conservation.

The Engineering Citizenship Project developed infrastructure for four communities. Bilateral engineering teams constructed elementary school classroom buildings in La Union and Cagayan, and community health centers in Ilocos Norte and Palawan. Construction costs for the four buildings totaled $520,000. These projects were selected by AFP and U.S. planners in collaboration with local governments and community leaders and targeted specific community needs. Notably, the new health center in Rizal, Palawan serves as Punta Baja’s only neighborhood facility. Punta Baja is a rural community of 400 households, with 250 reporting malaria cases last year.

A civil-military partnership provided classroom technology known as “Joy Bundles” to five elementary schools. These include televisions, solar panels, computers, printers, and other school supplies tailored to each school’s use case. The gift presentation was preceded by an interfaith prayer led by U.S. and AFP pastors and local religious leaders. A total of 53 local religious leaders of various faiths participated in this effort. The bundle of joy benefited his 1,000 students and his 92 teachers.

“These are high-impact projects that will have long-lasting impacts on local communities,” said Col. Arman G. Mampusti, commander of the Philippine Air Force’s Civil-Military Joint Operations Task Force. “HCA shows what the United States and the Philippines can accomplish when we work together.”

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