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Saturday, July 25, 2009

JSOTF-P Vet teams with AFP, veterinary students to help Mindanao farmers

PIKIT, North Cotobato, Philippines – Nearly 25 University of Southern Mindanao veterinary students received hands-on practice in the care and treatment of livestock July 18 during a Veterinary Civic Action Program in Pikit, hosted jointly by the Armed Forces of the Philippines 7th Infantry Battalion and Joint Special Operations Task Force – Philippines.

After two two-day classroom training seminars with the JSOTF-P Vet and representatives of AFP’s 7th IB, the students conducted a VETCAP in Barangay Kulambog, Pikit, Cotabato, providing assessments and treatment for the area’s livestock.

“For some students, this was the first time they’ve ever done field work,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Stephen Goldsmith, the JSOTF-P veterinarian. “You can watch them during the day. They’ve never had the experience but as the day goes on, they get it and gain confidence.”

“We showed them what they needed to do and the students did the rest, from administering the medicine to restraining the animals,” he added.

Farmers in rural regions such as Pikit depend on the health of their livestock for the livelihood and wellbeing of their families. Keeping their animals healthy is key to their prosperity.

At this VETCAP, students provided treatment to about 500 animals, including cattle, goats and carabao. They administered deworming vitamins and medicine to the animals and provided farmers with instructions on how to better care for their animals. The experience gained by the students will allow them to continue to conduct similar VETCAPs on their own in the future.

“Our students benefitted, by receiving training and assisting in the treatment of animals and the knowledge they got during the lectures,” said Dr. Elizabeth Molina, Dean of College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Southern Mindanao. “The community benefitted because they got free treatment for their animals.”

The involvement of AFP in the VETCAP shows the residents that the AFP is concerned about their welfare and livelihood and will continue to protect them and their livestock.

“This activity will foster friendship and camaraderie…so that they will feel that the Philippine Army is behind them, supporting them all the way in terms of development, in terms of whatever assistance we can give them,” said Lt. Col. Domingo Gobway, 7th Infantry Battalion commander.


  1. Interesting story. Who knew that a veterinarian could be such an effective tool at promoting peace?

  2. to be a real soldier you should not only know how to fire a gun..

  3. We agree and are happy to work with AFP and local farmers, thank you for your comments.