SOLCOM spearheads Balikatan 2014 in the Bicol Region

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CAMP GUILLERMO NAKAR, Lucena City, 2May2014 (PNA) — The Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) based here and their American military counterparts spearhead this week until May 17 the “Balikatan 2014” or the Joint Civil-Military Task Force (JCMOTF) in conducting humanitarian civic activities in the province of Albay.

The join military and civilian activities are undertaken through the Command’s 901st Infantry (Fight ‘Em) Brigade, 9th Infantry (Spear) Division, Philippine Army, Naval Forces Southern Luzon (NAVFORSOL) and Tactical Operations Group 5.

Under these arrangements, SOLCOM and US troops conduct various humanitarian and civic activities such as 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, Albay.

SOLCOM Commander Lt. General Caesar Ronnie F. Ordoyo said the SOLCOM troops and US counterparts are currently constructing a health center, two-room classroom building, water catchment system and concreting of sidewalk in Malobago Elementary School in Barangay Malobago in Guinobatan.

Another one-room school building in the Doña Mercedes Elementary School also in Guinobatan is a joint civil-military work in progress.

In addition, Lt. Gen. Ordoyo also underscored that the installation of water storage tank and construction of a public rest room will benefit the residents of Barangay Pawa in Legazpi City.

Ordoyo added that another repair and renovation of school building is on-going in Tamaoyan Elementary School in Barangay Tamaoyan also in Legazpi City.

He said 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” along with the US engineers are now working shoulder to shoulder to complete these engineering works.

“Besides these infra projects, our troops continuously conduct civil-military symposia by engaging military experts of both the Philippines and United States Armed Forces to share best practices and ideas in order to further develop methods of operations in each area of civil-military operation,” Lt. Gen. Ordoyo explained.

A symposium on cooperative health and community relations was organized with the participation of professional health practitioners in Bicol region in order to promote and encourage multi-sectoral participation in the Balikatan 2014.

The SOLCOM commanding general pointed out that “Balikatan” aims to enhance the capabilities and inter-operability of the AFP and US troops to address significant areas of concern and provide assistance on areas where the need is greatest.

The joint military partnership activities will also strengthen humanitarian assistance mechanism through non-traditional approach. (PNA)

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