Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Muslims Flock To Islamic City Of Marawi To Avail Free US-RP Medical Mission

An American soldier during a joint RP-US medical mission in the Islamic city of Marawi on Wednesday, 28 June 2006. More than 1,500 poor Muslims flock to Marawi to avail of the free medical services, under the Project Bayanihan. (Zamboanga Journal)

MARAWI CITY (Zamboanga Journal / 28 Jun) More than 1,500 poor Muslims flocked Wednesday to the southern Islamic city of Marawi where U.S. and Philippine military doctors held a free joint medical mission.

Local dentists and dozens of volunteer health workers also helped in the medical mission, the 16th since last year conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines in central Mindanao.

"We are so happy to help many poor Filipinos and we hope to do more in the future," Lt. Dave Nava, of the JSOTF-P, told the Zamboanga Journal.

He said more than 1,500 people benefited from the medical mission. "This joint undertaking is part of the Balikatan's Project Bayanihan. It is a partnership between the U.S. military, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and local government officials and nongovernmental organizations," he said.

At least 11 doctors from the provincial health office, including four from the JSOTF-P and destroyer USS Momsen, of the United States Navy, joined the medical mission held inside the Philippines' 1st Marine Brigade base.

"They are kind and they gave us medicines and told us to take care of our health. We hope they come more often and help the Muslims here," Kani Abdurahim, a 27-year old fisherman, said in a separate interview.

More than 10,000 mostly poor Filipinos have benefited in the past joint medical missions in central Mindanao, under the Project Bayanihan.

Just this month, the United States Navy hospital ship Mercy had treated more than 60,000 mostly poor Filipino patients in separate medical missions in Zamboanga City and the islands of Basilan, Jolo and Tawi-Tawi, as part of the Project Bayanihan.

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