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Troops Bring Health Care to Island Town

Published: Monday, 02 September 2013

Camp Gen. Artemio Ricarte, Puerto Princesa City – The Fleet-Marine Team of the Naval Forces West is heading Monday (August 26) to the island town of Balabac to bring primary health care closer to the residents in a joint medical-dental civic operations mission.


The five-day medical and dental mission is the largest so far by the NFW as they will cater to the communities surrounding Mangsee village, NFW spokesman Lt. Junior Grade Stanlee Vince Gonzaga said.

“The purpose of an event such as this is to provide treatment for minor illnesses and teach these people how to better care for themselves,” said Lt. Gonzaga, concurrently the Civil Military Operations Unit West commander of the Philippine Navy Civil Military Operations Group, and a native of Roxas, Palawan. “With the right teaching and instruction, a lot of the illnesses and injuries that we saw here during the ocular visit could have been treated at home or prevented.” 

Gonzaga said the expected beneficiaries, around 200 people, might add up as the Fleet-Marine Team arrives in Mangsee. “Those who were able to list their names is an indication that the people desire for coordinated health care in Palawan’s island town and the need to implement and sustain such operations,” Lt. Gonzaga said.

“We know we are doing something that is extremely positive and progressive for the people of Balabac,” he said. “We will be able to take care of the needs of around 200 patients, which is no small task. With the help of our partners from the Camp General Artemio Ricarte Station Hospital, we’ll conduct an evaluation to see how we can improve to make our next community outreach project an even bigger success.” 

The activity is part of the Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD) program of the Naval Forces West under the concept of Internal Peace and Security Program (IPSP) Bayanihan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 

Under the IPSP, the government gives more emphasis on development in rebel-affected areas. The goal is winning the peace rather than simply defeating the enemy, said Lt. Gonzaga. 

In support to Bayanihan, the Navy has adopted the non-traditional approach in ending the country’s decades-old insurgency, recognizing that insurgency cannot be solved through military action alone, but more importantly through peace and development initiatives in partnership with other stakeholders of society. ––END 

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