Pre-‘Balikatan’ activities ongoing in Nolcom areas

MANILAAs part of this year's "Balikatan" exercises, engineering personnel assigned to the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) started engaging their stakeholders in pre-selected areas in four provinces in Regions 2 and 3 for the conduct of humanitarian and civic action (HCA) operations.

In a statement Tuesday, Nolcom spokesperson Lt. Col. Isagani Nato said HCA activities started last April 3.

Coordination is now being made among concerned local government units, school heads and Nolcom units in order to gain support from different stakeholders, he added.

"Moreover, all these undertakings will be a prelude to Balikatan 34-18 to be conducted on May 2018," Nato stressed.

Aside from this, Philippine Army and Navy engineering units together with their US, Japanese and Australian counterparts, will be involved in a engineering civic action program which will result in the construction of a two-room school building in five different sites in Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Cagayan and Isabela.

Health programs will also be conducted to increase the capacity of the local government units and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to care for the people entrusted to them, through Health Education and First Responder Training.

This includes First Aid Response/Disaster Preparedness Response; Vector Control Mitigation; Public Health; and Community Outreach.

Different sports activities involving the community and soldiers are also lined-up, as well as donation of sports equipment to different beneficiaries and spiritual enhancement spearheaded by the chaplains from the AFP and US contingents will form part of the program to enhance community relations.

"All these are products of sustained and intensive consultations with all stakeholders to achieve maximum effect beneficial to the community. As an annual bilateral exercise, dubbed as Balikatan', the event displays the shoulder to shoulder involvement of Philippine-US forces in achieving their common objectives of enhancing combined/joint Interoperability, build AFP and United States Pacific Command capability, and foster confidence in mutual defense relationship while contributing to the welfare and social development of the local communities," Nato added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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