Balikatan troops start civic projects

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LUCENA CITY: The Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) is leading the Joint Civil-Military Task Force in conducting humanitarian civic activities under Balikatan 2014 in Albay Province until May 17, 2014.

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The command’s 901st Infantry Brigade, 9th Infantry Division, the Philippine Army, the Naval Forces Southern Luzon (Navforsol) and Tactical Operations Group 5 will lead the construction and renovation of school buildings, medical and veterinary services, medical symposia including training and other cooperative expertise-exchange endeavors in Legazpi City and Guinobatan.

Solcom chief Lt. Gen. Caesar Ronnie Ordoyo said his troops and their US counterparts are in the middle of constructing a health center, a two-room classroom building and a water catchment system and are concreting of sidewalk in Malobago Elementary School in Barangay Malobago and building another one-room school building in Doña Mercedes Elementary School, both in Guinobatan town, Albay.

Ordoyo added that they are installing a water storage tank and constructing a public rest room in Barangay Pawa in Legazpi City, while the repair and renovation of a school building is ongoing in Tamaoyan Elementary School in Barangay Tamaoyan, Legazpi City.

The engineering works are jointly through the efforts of the 565th Engineering Construction Battalion of 51st Engineering Brigade, Philippine Army; Air Engineering Wing of the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy Engineering Team “Seabees,” aided by US engineers.

“Along with these projects, our troops continuously conduct civil-military symposia by engaging subject matter experts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States Forces to exchange best practices and ideas in order to further develop methods of operations in each area of civil-military operation,” Ordoyo told The Manila Times.

Also, a symposium on cooperative health and community relations was organized with professional health practitioners in Bicol region to promote and encourage multi-sectoral participation in Balikatan 2014.

Ordoyo believes that the Balikatan, which aimed to enhance the capabilities and interoperability of AFP and US troops, would address significant areas of concern and provide assistance on areas where need is great and strengthen humanitarian assistance mechanism through non-traditional approach.

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