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PIA Press Release
2008/02/04

RP-US "Balikatan 2008" emphasizes humanitarian assistance

Zamboanga City (4 February) -- Balikatan, an annual Republic of the Philippines-U.S. bilateral military humanitarian assistance and training exercise, will take place in the Philippines 18 February-3 March 2008.

During Balikatan 2008, Philippine and U.S. members of the armed forces will conduct humanitarian assistance projects in Central and Western Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago, and Palawan. They will offer free medical, dental, and veterinary care and construct and repair schools and other community infrastructure in communities most in need of assistance.

Balikatan 2008 will focus on training both of our armed forces to provide relief and assistance together, in the event of natural disasters and other crises that endanger public health and safety. Military service members of our countries will conduct combined staff exercises and field training in Luzon and Palawan to improve contingency planning and strengthen maritime security. U.S. Navy ship visits and a Joint/Combined Exchange Training exercise will take place in several locations in the Philippines.

"These humanitarian assistance and training activities enable our soldiers to get to know each other, train together, and provide assistance in communities where the need is greatest," said U.S. Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney. "True to the meaning of the word balikatan, this exercise entails Philippine and U.S. forces shouldering the load together to help the greatest possible number of people in need."

Balikatan 2008 will be the 24th annual event of its kind held under the auspices of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) and Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

For additional information, contact the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Office at (632) 301-2363 or via e-mail to mnlinfooffice@state.gov. (US Embassy Manila/PIA 9-zc) [top]

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