RP-US Balikatan missions to be conducted in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur
By Carlo P. Canares
Laoag City, Ilocos Norte (10 February) -- In continuation of U.S. humanitarian assistance to the Philippines after the devastating storms of 2009, Philippine and U.S. military service members will provide medical, dental, and veterinary care and construct and repair schools and other infrastructure in communities most in need of assistance in Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur during Operation Pacific Angel February 15-22, 2010 and Balikatan, March 9-19, 2010.
During Operation Pacific Angel, Philippine and U.S. members of the armed forces will conduct humanitarian assistance projects in Ilocos Norte, while projects through Balikatan 2010 will take place in Ilocos Sur, Central Luzon and Cavite.
Training for the Philippine and American armed forces will focus on providing 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 Central Luzon to improve contingency planning. U.S. Navy ship visits and a Joint/Combined Exchange Training exercise will take place off the coasts of Central Luzon and Cavite.
"Operation Pacific Angel and Balikatan 2010 will be a continuation of reconstruction efforts following the typhoons that devastated parts of the country last year," said U.S. Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney. "These are extraordinary opportunities for the militaries of our two great nations to work together and learn from each other for the benefit of the civilian population of our friend and ally, the Philippines," she added.
Balikatan 2010 will be the 26th annual event of its kind held under the auspices of the Mutual Defense Treaty and Visiting Forces Agreement. (PIA) [top]