News: Philippine, U.S. armed forces exchange expertise, best practices
Story by Lance Cpl. Michael Thorn
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – Subject matter experts from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. armed forces held the opening ceremony for a Civil Military Operations symposium April 25 in Legazpi City, Albay Province, Philippines.
The week-long symposium will highlight the importance of civil affairs and public communication, and how these capabilities contribute to stability, security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
“We are building community relations with everyone,” said U.S. Army Capt. Danielle Williams, a civil affairs planner with Joint Civil Military Operations Task Force, U.S. armed forces. “This is building a long-lasting relationship that will remain beyond our time here.”
This symposium is held in conjunction with humanitarian civic projects taking place around the province as a part of Exercise Balikatan, an annual bilateral training exercise and humanitarian assistance engagement between members of the Philippine and U.S. armed forces.
The HCA projects include renovations of Tamaoyan Elementary School; construction of a comfort room in Barangay Pawa; construction of classrooms and a health clinic in Malobago; and construction of classrooms at Mercedes Elementary School.
“I am excited to be learning about CMO and meeting others from the different Philippine armed services, as well as from the U.S.” said Philippine Army Pfc. Cindy Quicho, a licensed criminologist serving with 504th Civil Defense Center, AFP. “I’m looking forward to learning (how to) apply these lessons in the Philippines.”
During the seminar, subject matter experts with the AFP and U.S. will exchange best practices and ideas for each of the CMO areas to generate discussion that will focus on developing improved methods of operation for all members present, which will improve interoperability between the two allied nations and HCA effectiveness.
“This is very important for us to win the hearts of our people and accomplish future missions,” said Bicol police superintendent Jesus C. Martirez, community relations chief. “It’s a good start for everyone to join together, not just in the Philippines, but some day, the whole world.”