Philippine, US forces show care through cooperative health engagement

258w_q75PUERTO PRINCESA, PALAWAN, Philippines – Health and dental care are both important considerations in people’s lives. However, the required care is not easily available in some rural areas. Those are the areas that need extra help, and those are the places the Philippines and U.S. want to make a difference.

Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, U.S. forces, and local health care representatives participated in cooperative health engagements in Palawan, Philippines, as part of the humanitarian and civic assistance program projects taking place there.

The CHEs were largely successful because of the combined efforts of Philippine Navy corpsmen with Naval Forces West, representatives of Department of Health and Damayan, and U.S. Marines and sailors with 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

“We are all here for the people,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph F. Ramirez, hospital corpsman with 3rd MEB. “Especially for those who have little to no access to health care, or can’t afford it. Families walked for miles to receive treatment they’ve been waiting to get for months.”

Occurring in multiple areas around the Philippines, the medical engagements provide free medical, dental and optical treatment to all ages. From children as young as eight months, to older community members who were 80 years old, more than 1,000 people received treatment or care during these events.

“This is [the communities’ member’s] opportunity to get the help they need,” said Vice Mayor Luis M. Marcaida III.

The military members also donated school supplies, textbooks, sporting equipment, reference books, teacher kits, medicine and dental care supplies to local schools as part of the CHEs.

The strong relationship between all those who assisted in the events made the process smooth and effective, according to Philippine Navy Seaman Apprentice Karen. R. Casipong, one of the medical representatives with Naval Forces West.

“Working together to provide treatment to people enables us to share skills and knowledge amongst each other and educate the patients,” said Casipong. “The CHE helps the people, and it also helps us and our allies maintain a harmonious relationship.”

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