By ROY C. MABASA
Members of the United States military and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) recently completed the construction of a health clinic in Legazpi City, Albay as part of the multilateral exercise Pacific Partnership 2021.
According to a statement issued by the US Embassy in Manila, the 5-by-6 meter health clinic located in Barangay Taysan, Legazpi City was jointly constructed by the US Navy Seabees with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3, US Marines with 9th Engineer Support Battalion (ESB), and the AFP Seabees with the Naval Combat Engineering Brigade.
The newly-built clinic will provide medical care to 200 families and will be accessible to 16,000 residents living around Barangay Taysan, where typhoons and other natural disasters are often experienced.
Pacific Partnership 2021 opened the opportunity for the Naval Construction Force, 9th ESB, and the AFP to work together on a project since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apart from enhancing interoperability, US military and AFP service members who participated in the construction emphasized the importance of working together on projects like this to help provide facilities and services to local communities.
“Executing this mission with our allies brought forth some of the best work ethic and dedication to the mission I have ever witnessed in the Navy. The lessons I learned here will have a lasting impression in my life,” said US Navy Builder 2nd Class Jacob Castillo of Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Philippine Navy Builder 1st Class Francis Mark Fernandez, for his part, expressed his elation for having worked along with their foreign counterparts for a noble objective.
“We belong to different countries, but working together for one mission is very satisfying to me. It’s a very good experience to work with the US Seabees and I thank them for the memories,” Fernandez, who hails from La Union, said.
Deployed across the Indo-Pacific region, the US Navy Seabees from US Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 are conducting high-quality construction to support US allied and partner nations, deter aggression, and work toward a free and open Indo-Pacific.