LEGAZPI CITY: Captain Brian Vickers, Encap officer-in-charge of the Pacific Partnership 2016 humanitarian mission in Albay, admired the ingenuity of their counterparts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines as they built schools in remote villages of Albay.
“We learned a lot from AFP soldiers, the way they construct buildings using indigenous materials. The people here are very hospitable and the children are so jolly. Daily, they’re practicing their English knowledge to us through exchanging pleasantries. We have fun here in the community with very cheerful children around,” he told The Manila Times.
Vickers was roaming around the areas where construction work is done in the towns of Daraga and Camalig, as he supervised the engineering work of soldiers from the United States Armed Forces.
Over 1,000 soldiers disembarked at Legazpi City port on June 27 aboard USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), marking the seventh year of Pacific Partnership 2016 in the Philippines since 2006.
While in Legazpi, Pacific Partnership works with civilians and their counterparts in the conduct of humanitarian and disaster relief seminars; cooperative health engagements throughout the province; engineering construction and renovation projects in the towns of Camalig and Daraga; and community relation events led by the Pacific Fleet band.
“This is my first time being an officer in charge for a country while on a humanitarian mission. Serving on USMS Mercy is a unique experience for surface warfare officers and having the opportunity to support Pacific Partnership 2016 as an OIC is unparalleled and rewarding. I’m lucky I have such a great team to work with,” Lt. Rebecca Wolf, country officer in charge of the Philippines, said.
The Pacific Partnership 2016 is focused on enhancing relationships and multinational interoperability through knowledge exchange and cooperative training, ensuring that the partner nations are prepared to collectively and effectively respond when disaster strikes.
The humanitarian mission will end on July 10 here. The USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) will depart from Legazpi on July 11 and will be heading for Da Nang, Vietnam to continue the mission. It will also conduct mission stops in Malaysia and Indonesia.