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NEWS | Jan. 7, 2022

U.S. Navy Seabees Strengthening Partnerships at Pacific Partnership 21 Bagumbayan Central School Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

By Utilitiesman 3rd Class John Gamble Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 Public Affairs

LEGAZPI, Philippines -- On December 20, U.S. Navy Seabees with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) service members held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Bagumbayan Central School, Legazpi, Albay province, Philippines, as part of the bilateral Pacific Partnership (PP) military exercise.

NMCB-5 Sailors and AFP service members strengthened infrastructure through the completion of civil engineering projects and renovated two classrooms to create a health clinic for the Bagumbayan Central School. The school supports more than 1,500 students as a learning center, and more than eight villages as an evacuation site in case of an eruption from the nearby Mayan Volcano.

“Pacific Partnership strengthens the bond of the Philippines and U.S. as our young soldiers collaborate, learning not just the necessary skills, but also the culture of both countries,” said 1st Lt. Climaco Ramirez, the officer-in-charge for the AFP.

The Legazpi government recommended the conversion of existing classrooms into a clinic at the school to benefit the students, faculty, and community and provide training and interoperability opportunities for engineer forces. The clinic will also provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to more than eight villages in the event of an eruption from the Mayan Volcano.

“Pacific Partnership acknowledges the complexity of disaster response operations and the critical role of civilian organizations as leaders in such operations,” said Lt. j.g. Corey Kite, the officer-in-charge of Detail Philippines with NMCB-5. “The mission provides a platform to deepen understanding and awareness of the military contribution and enhances key relationship with civilian partners.”

“This kind of partnership benefited the school, the community and the nation as well,” said Christina Agarin, principal of Bagumbayan. “As one of the recipients, it will be a service to the community in case of calamity. We are thankful to the U.S. Navy, Philippine Army, and Pacific Partnership for choosing Bagumbayan Central School to be the luckiest school in the entire country.”

One of the mission sets of Pacific Partnership is the subject matter expert exchange with U.S. Forces and the host nation. Pacific Partnership is focused on military and civilian organizations working collectively to ensure the international community is better prepared to synchronize and function together when executing effective disaster response in the aftermath of a disaster emergency.

“The U.S. Navy and our mission partners value our growing partnerships with Pacific Partnership host nations,” said Kite. “We look forward to enhancing our lines of communication and understanding to promote greater cooperation and partnerships that benefit all nations.”

NMCB-5 is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific, strengthening their network of alliances and partnerships, and providing general engineering and civil support to joint operational forces. Homeported out of Port Hueneme, California, NMCB-5 has 13 detail sites deployed throughout the U.S. and Indo-Pacific area of operations.

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