An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | May 9, 2024

Philippine, US forces conclude Balikatan humanitarian efforts

By Courtesy Story, Exercise Balikatan

Service members from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. military successfully completed a series of humanitarian civic assistance efforts focused on community health engagements, engineering civic action projects, and civil-military engagements during Exercise Balikatan 24.

From March 26 to May 9, a team of 305 U.S. and AFP civil-military operations planners, specialized health professionals, engineers, and chaplains built schools, community health centers, administered medical and dental services, and distributed school supplies and classroom technology in Aurora, La Union, Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, and Palawan.

The goal of HCA is to improve infrastructure, enhance medical response, and strengthen ties between local communities and Philippine and American military forces. Eleven months of planning between the AFP and U.S. led into the Balikatan HCA.

“The alliance between our nations is stronger than ever because of mutual interests and a shared heart.” said U.S. Marine Col. David J. Fennell, the U.S. commander of the Combined Joint Civil-Military Operations Task Force. “As partners, it’s natural that we work together in service of the Filipino people.”

Community health engagements provided medical and dental evaluations and care, taught basic lifesaving skills to local residents and healthcare workers, and gifted medicine and medical equipment. Additionally, they facilitated subject matter expert exchanges. Military health specialists ranged from dental surgeons to behavioral health providers to an entomologist. Across five communities, a total of 795 medical patients and 550 dental patients received care, and 500 people received education in a variety of topics including basic lifesaving, preventative medicine, and water conservation.

Engineering civic action projects developed the infrastructure of four communities. Bilateral engineering teams constructed elementary school classroom buildings in La Union and Cagayan, as well as community medical centers in Ilocos Norte and Palawan. The cost of the four buildings totaled $520,000. These projects, chosen by AFP and U.S. planners in collaboration with local authorities and community leaders, targeted specific community needs. Notably, the new health center in Rizal, Palawan serves as the only nearby facility for Punta Baja, a rural community with 400 households, where 250 households reported malaria cases in the past year.

Civil-military engagements provided classroom technology, known as 'bundles of joy,' to five elementary schools. These included TVs, solar panels, computers, printers, and other school supplies, tailored to each school’s use case. Gift-givings were preceded by interfaith prayer services with U.S. and AFP chaplains and local religious leaders. A total of 53 local religious leaders of different faiths participated in the engagements. The bundles of joy benefited 1000 students and 92 teachers.

“These are high impact projects that have long-lasting effects on communities,” said Philippine Air Force Col. Arman G. Mampusti, the Philippine commander of the Combined Joint Civil-Military Operations Task Force. “HCA exhibits what the U.S. and Philippines can accomplish together.”




Statement from NSC Spokesperson Adrienne Watson on the U.S.-PRC Talks on AI Risk and Safety
Graphic intended for use as a placeholder for Statements and Press Releases without accompanying imagery.
May 14, 2024 - Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Technology and National Security Tarun Chhabra and Department of State Acting Special Envoy for Critical and Emerging Technologies Seth Center will lead an...

U.S. Army provides legal training to Papua New Guinea Defence Force officers
(Left to right) U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Lillard, national security law attorney, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Air Force Maj. Gabriel Bush, deputy staff judge advocate, Andersen AFB, Guam, and Maj. Christopher Niemiec, international operations officer, Defense Institute of International Legal Studies pose for a photo with Papua New Guinea Defence Force officers April 6, 2024, Tumon, Guam, during Defense Institute of International Legal Studies training. The three-day training session covered a wide range of topics crucial to the legal aspects of detainee operations, law of armed conflict, and legal considerations in conflict zones to four PNGDF officers re-introducing aircraft to their air wing. (Courtesy)
May 14, 2024 - A U.S. Army national security law attorney conducted Defense Institute of International Legal Studies training with Papua New Guinea Defence Force officers in an effort to enhance their legal expertise April 4, 2024, in...

CARAT Indonesia Celebrates 75 Years of Diplomatic Relations Between U.S., Indonesia
May 13, 2024 - The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps began Exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia 2024 with the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) and Marine Corps (KORMAR RI) in Bandar Lampung, Indonesia, May 13...

MV-22B Ospreys touch down in the top end for MRF-D 24.3
U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (Reinforced), Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 24.3, take off for the first flight of the MRF-D 24.3 rotation at Port Darwin, Darwin, NT, Australia, May 11, 2024. The Ospreys were flown from Port Darwin to Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, where they will be hosted for the duration of the rotation. VMM-268 (Rein.) makes up the Aviation Combat Element, out of Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, completing the structure of the MAGTF with the arrival of 10 MV-22B Ospreys. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1st Lt. Colton Martin)
May 13, 2024 - The rumble of U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys echoed across Port Darwin and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Darwin as Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 (Reinforced) (VMM-268 (Rein.)) arrived as the Aviation Combat...

51st FW F-16 Fighting Falcons take the lead in Red Flag-Alaska 24-1
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 36th Fighter Squadron lands on a runway at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, May 8, 2024. The 36th FS aircraft returned from the Red Flag-Alaska 24-1 training event with sustained operational capabilities and improved interoperability with allies. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Senior Airman Kaitlin Frazier)
May 10, 2024 - The 51st Fighter Wing took charge as the lead wing in Red Flag-Alaska 24-1 hosted at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, from April 18 - May 3, 2024...