JOLO ISLAND (Yolly De Guzman / 23 Jan) The Philippine Armed Forces from Southern Command in Zamboanga City, the U.S. Armed Forces from Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines (JSOTF-P) and local volunteers conducted a Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) and humanitarian assistance mission for the first time in the town of Indanan.
The MEDCAP was held recently at a local elementary school under the umbrella of Project Bayanihan, which provides the framework for ongoing humanitarian and civic assistance in Sulu, improves RP-U.S. military civic cooperation, and trains civil-military personnel to work together.
“Our goal here is to provide capacity building to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), conduct together Civil Military Operations in conflict-affected areas and provide a secure environment so that development and social progress can occur,” said Col. James Linder, JSOTF-P Commander.
“With our civilian agency and non-governmental organization partners, we want to show the people of Sulu a development alternative to the all-too-prevalent lawlessness and violence.”
Philippine Armed Forces medics and U.S. Armed Forces medics together treated 750 patients, including 150 dental surgery patients.
Free prescription drugs were delivered as well as preventive care supplies including dental care items, vitamins and education kits.
More than $10,000 of medical and humanitarian assistance supplies was distributed to Indanan citizens.
“Throughout this country, with the cooperation of the government of the Republic of the Philippines, we will continue to advise, assist and share information with our AFP counterparts and strengthen their hand in the global war on terrorism,” said Linder.
Hundreds of locals have welcomed the medical team and many officials from other towns also requested RP and US military authorities to conduct humanitarian missions in their areas.
Indanan has a population of approximately 55,000, with very limited access to rudimentary medical services.