LEGAZPI CITY: Soldiers of the United States Armed Forces under the Pacific Partnership 2016 joining the USNS Mercy hospital ship that docked in Albay Gulf on Monday will be limited only to humanitarian mission and tourists spots visit and not the red light district here. Brig. General Claudio Yucot, commanding officer of the Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade (IB) said US forces will not be allowed to go to red light district across Albay while on mission.
Similar pronouncement was made by Office of Civil Defense director Bernardo Alejandro of Bicol, saying that about 500 US soldiers will be seen on the ground to do their services under the Pacific Partnership 2016 but their movement will be limited only to humanitarian mission and visiting to remarkable tourists spots.
Over 1,000 US troops are expected to arrive in Albay for the Pacific Partnership engagement to provide humanitarian assistance and to learn disaster management approach with their Filipino counterparts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other disaster responders in the provincial government.
Alejandro said the medical mission will target 2,000 to 3,000 patients who will be treated mostly onboard the USS Mercy, the world’s largest hospital ship.
Albay is the recipient again of the US Armed Forces humanitarian team in partnership with the AFP upon the request of the Philippine government, as part of the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty. The mission starts June 27 and will last until July 11.
The components of the Pacific Partnership include medical mission, engineering and disaster response. The US forces’ engineering brigade will construct a school building along with soldiers of AFP in the towns of Daraga and Camalig.
Pacific Partnership is a multilateral, disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region which aims to bring partner nations together to prepare in a time of calm so they can effectively respond when a crisis or natural disaster takes place.
Now on its 11th year, Pacific Partnership 2016 will conduct stops in Timor Leste, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Palau, with partners from around the Pacific – including Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Canada, and the United Kingdom.