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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

U.S., Filipino doctors hold health fair in Zambo

By the Philippine News Agency

ZAMBOANGA CITY, March 19 - Combined U.S. and Filipino military doctors have treated more than 700 residents as well as dependents of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in a one-day health fair in this southern port city recently, U.S. and Filipino military officials said.

Lieutenant Commander John Perkins, deputy public affairs officer of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P), said the one-day health fair was part of the series of events in line with the 3rd Air Division 26th founding anniversary on April 7.

The health fair was also aimed at reaching out the barangays and a way to further the PAF's mission of providing a safe community here in Mindanao."It is in-line with the mission of the Philippine Air Force's peace efforts," Lt. Col. Edgar Ventura, Edwin Andrews Air Base (EAAB) Hospital Commanding Officer, said.

"We provide community service in terms of reassuring the community of our dedication to bring peace and prosperity to all parts of the Philippines," Ventura added.

The 3rd AD leaders and medical staff, teaming up with 10 barangays and the U.S. military, identified airmen families to receive a multitude of medical services.

"The outreach was intended for our military families, the EAAB elementary school and the barangays that surround the base," Maj. Edgardo Lorenzo, the activity's over-all coordinator, said.

"The outreach was one way we can help our government deliver basic health services to our community here in Zamboanga City," Lorenzo added.

Perkins said health fairs bring residents together with family members of those who serve their country and for many it may be the only chance for them to seek medical treatment.

Throughout the day, Perkins said PAF, U.S. military, local doctors and health care staff performed medical check-ups and treated minor ailments such as joint pain, tooth aches, colds, skin rashes, and blurry vision.

He said the variety of medical services was extensive and ranged from basic procedures to specialties.(PNA)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hundreds Celebrate New School Buildings Built by Filipino Contractors and U.S. Navy Seabees

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

LANAO DEL SUR, Philippines- Symbolizing a new beginning and the commitment to provide quality facilities for undergraduates in Lanao Del Sur, more than 500 educators, local residents and the U.S. and Philippine forces celebrated the dedication of two reconstructed school facilities at Lanao Agricultural College March 1.

More than 800 students attend the high school and college on campus and many of the facilities are in need of renovations. Due to limited funding at the college, facilities are run down and often in need of repairs, according to School Assistant Superintendent Paino C. Alib.

“We are so grateful for this project and all those who came together to build this for us. The children here just love it. The AFP, the PNP [Philippine National Police] and U.S. forces, we just thank all of you for this building,” said Mamintal G. Razuman, mayor of Lumbatan City.

A U.S. Navy Construction Electrician 1st Class led a team of 15 U.S. Navy Seabees, assigned to Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines, which partnered with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and school officials to build the classrooms.

The project took six months to complete and was made possible through the cooperative efforts of the U.S. Navy Seabees, School Superintendent Arimao S. Asum, soldiers from the Philippines 103rd Infantry Army Brigade that provided convoy security and local contractors who put up the roofing.

The seven-million-peso project includes the college's main 5,800 square-foot building and a 1,000 square-foot science building. The buildings contain eight white-and-brown classrooms already in use since December.

The structures include a septic system, electrical power distribution, lighting, fans and a generator. There is also a separate comfort room (bathroom) and prayer room, as many of the students are Muslim and wanted a room for daily prayers.

“This ceremony is an example of what can happen when individuals from all of these different groups and organizations come together with one final purpose; it is truly an amazing happening. It is exciting for all of us involved. This really means that anything is possible,” said a U.S. Army Special Forces officer in charge for the Marawi area.

Science posters of different plants now hang on the walls, with newly-stained brown desks and freshly-scrubbed chalkboards. A posted schedule on each classroom designates certain students responsible for the upkeep of the classrooms, which includes sweeping each room and the gardening around the outside of the buildings.

As humanitarian projects with the Armed Forces of the Philippines are a cornerstone of the JSOTF-P mission, the school was a way both militaries could help the people in the community and provide them with better facilities for their growth and education.

Officials from the college, officers with the AFP’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, and members of Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines cut the ribbon in front of the school, officially turning the school over to college administers.

At the ribbon-cutting, several prominent community leaders spoke, including Brig. Gen. Rey Ardo, commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade, who took a moment to reflect on what the construction of the school meant to him and the community.

“This is the third largest construction project in Lanao Del Sur. These are important ties that we have with the Philippine and U.S. government. This project is an example of the progress we want to make here, and we are grateful for the military forces that helped make this progress happen,” he said.

After the ceremony, members of the 103rdt Brigade led a book donation drop off, which resulted in 1,200 science and other textbooks for the school.

“What we have accomplished here is truly something worth celebrating. The potential for something even greater cannot be ignored,” said a U.S. Army Special Forces officer.