U.S., PHLsecurity forces bring help to earthquake-hit Cotabato

U.S. and Philippine service members provide medical care and supplies to students of Laureano Ramirez Sebastian High School in Cotabato City.

MANILA — U.S. and Philippine service members conducted medical outreach in Cotabato City, providing medical education and basic care to 228 students at Laureano Ramirez Sebastian High School on Saturday, November 30.

The medical civil action program (MEDCAP), was a collaboration between members of the Philippine 6th Infantry Division Hospital, Cotabato Regional Medical Center, the BARMM Ministry of Health, and U.S. military personnel.  MEDCAP participants provided treatment to students with chronic ailments, and taught best practices on hygiene.  A Ministry of Health dental truck provided dental examinations.

The United States also donated more than PHP 250,000 ($5,000 USD) in medical supplies provided by Spirit of America, a U.S. non-governmental organization.

“With our combined efforts – the free medical and dental checkups, plus the health kits and medicines donated by our American friends – we will hopefully inspire students and bolster teachers’ efforts to keep learners in school,” said Anges Ortega, Laureano Ramirez Sebastian High School’s principal.

Mrs. Karen Cortes, an elementary school teacher, praised the event, “The school is very grateful for the overwhelming support of the U.S. Marines and our very own Philippine Army 6th Infantry Division.  The MEDCAP is an opportunity for our underprivileged students to access basic medical health and services.”

Of the MEDCAP, Capt Owen Cahill, a U.S. military participant said, “The medical outreach event was a chance for the Philippine 6th Infantry Division and U.S. forces to positively impact Cotabato’s underprivileged.  These opportunities allow us to build mutual trust and respect and give back to the community.”

The United States, as a longstanding friend, partner, and ally of the Philippines, continues to provide support to Filipino communities with outreach events and medical assistance.