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Monday, October 26, 2009

AFP, Lions Club and JSOTF-P Partner for MEDCAP

By Lt.j.g. Theresa Donnelly, Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines Public Affairs

COTABATO CITY, Republic of the Philippines – Combining resources and skills from multiple organizations, service members assigned to Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines assisted with a Medical Civic Action Project in Cotabato City Oct. 24.

The MEDCAP was organized by Armed Forces of the Philippines members from Tactical Operations Group 12, 3rd Air Division. Taking place at the Awang Elementary School in Barangay Lomboy, this was the first time the Philippine Air Force led a MEDCAP in Central Mindanao.

“The Philippine air force did a terrific job running this MEDCAP,” said Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Fisher, the team sergeant from Civil Affairs Team 735. “They used their outside resources very well and that is what made the event so successful.”

Treating more than 400 patients, doctors from AFP’s 6th Infantry (KAMPILAN) Division, JSOTF-P and the Cotabato Metro Lions Club joined physicians from five other community-based organizations.

Throughout the day, doctors performed medical check-ups and treated minor ailments, ranging from rashes, colds, high blood pressure and gave out vitamin treatments. Additionally, local dentists performed tooth extractions for more than 100 patients.

Lions Club President Rex M. Abdon expressed his appreciation for helping the people of Cotabato City and highlighted the role of the Lions Club.

“Our mission is to serve the people and we are here to do that. We are so happy to be working with the members of the Filipino and U.S. Forces. This is a very important event and we look forward to working with them on future projects. The Americans here are so helpful and we thank you so much for coming out here today,” he said.

Participating in the event were JSOTF-P’s 3rd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) medic and surgeon, who spent the day treating patients and handing out prescriptions.
Additionally, JSOTF-P Task Force members donated 20boxes of medications and provided 10 boxes of clothing.

The clothing was donated by a family of a JSOTF-P medic. Knowing that there might be an opportunity to help the Filipino people, his grandmother, mother, aunt and family friends shipped eight large boxes of vitamins and clothing, including brand new dresses, shirts, pants, and socks.

“Basically, I told them some of the things the kids here might need and everyone in my family came together to donate the items,” said the medic. “It’s great my family back in the U.S. could also contribute to this MEDCAP and help the people of Central Mindanao,” he said.

To pass the time waiting to see the doctors, patients honed their skills at karaoke. Sponsored by McDonalds Cotabato City, the people sang, danced and played games. Ronald McDonald also greeted the guests, shaking hands and posing for pictures.

This was the second medical mission CAT 735, the JSOTF-P surgeon and medics have joined with AFP this week. On Oct. 20, the AFP’s 6th Infantry led a MECAP which resulted in the treatment of 600 patients outside Camp Siongco.

“This is the first time the American people have come here to this place and we are just so glad and thankful for this occasion. It was such a good job of everyone coming together to help the people here,” said Fernando M. Bayon, principal, Awang Elementary School.

At the request of the Philippine government, JSOTF-P works with the AFP forces on a variety of civil and humanitarian projects, constructing roads, clinics, schools and delivering food and other needed supplies for the people of Mindanao and surrounding areas.

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