US Naval Ship Mercy is set to visit Catbalogan by June

A two-week humanitarian and civic action (HCA) activities is to set foot on Samar from June 18 to July 01, 2012 for the Pacific Partnership 2012, as shared during the PP12 Meeting last May 24, 2012 at Ciriaco Hotel and Resort, Calbayog City.

The PP12 is a mission that will take medical, dental, veterinary, engineering and civic assistance projects to the Philippines.

USNS MERCY (T-AH 19), one of the two modern hospital ships in the US Navy, will dock the shores of Calbayog City for the PP12 mission. It will serve as the command platform of the mission sought to build and strengthen alliances, partnerships and relationships with regional host nations, partner nations, foreign humanitarian assistance actors and non-government organizations (NGO), and U.S. government interagency organizations by conducting HCA and other civil military operations. The PP12 is set to visit Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Cambodia for this year’s leg of the mission.

For the Philippine leg, although majority of its mission will be held in Samar, a deployment will visit Mindanao to do minor outreach and a number of activities. For Samar, the mission will conduct a series of Surgical Civic Action Program (SURGCAP), Medical Civic Action Programs (MEDCAP), Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE), Civic Military Operations (CMO), and Public Affairs Operations (PAO).

As reported during the meeting last May 26, 2012 at the Office of the City Mayor with the team from the PP12, activities to be conducted in Catbalogan City will mostly be from June 25 – 30, 2012. Present during the meeting were Hon. Stephany Uy-Tan in behalf of Mayor Tekwa, Dr. Gerarda Tizon and Dr. Amalia Tirazona from the City Health Office and Dr. Antonio Cinco from the City Veterinary Office.

As shared, the SURGCAP will be held only in Calbayog City since actual surgeries will be performed inside the USNS Mercy ship. Dates for the enlistment of possible patients will only be on June 18 and 24, 2012.

For the MEDCAP however, missions will be held at different municipalities on various dates. The MEDCAP will include services on medical, dental, optometry, women’s health and general out-patient consultation. According to LCDR Weatherup, the Catbalogan MEDCAP will be from June 25 – 28 at the Silanga Elementary School, Barangay Silanga. With the assistance of the City Health Office, the MEDCAP is set to cater at most 400 patients per day and will further be assisted by RN Heals nurses stationed at CHO as revealed by City Health Officer Dr. Tizon. A sub-activity will also be conducted called VETCAP or Veterinary Civic Action Programs at Barangay Guinsorongan to cater to animals raising and to be assisted by the City Veterinary Office through Dr. Cinco.

For the SMEE, a series of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management seminar workshop will be conducted on June 28 & 29 in Catbalogan City to cover topics on fire fighting, and search and rescue operations. A culinary expert exchange will also be conducted, a first for the mission, through Mr. Ruben Tan, owner of Flaming Hat Restaurant.

Under the CMO, 15 pallets are set to be donated to various schools and organizations in Catbalogan City, which include medical and school supplies, toys and other items from donated by various companies. To facilitate the donation drive, Councilor Stephany Uy-Tan shared that said task will be forwarded to the Local School Board and through the newly-reopened Division of Catbalogan City, Department of Education.

For the PAO activities, these include a series of Band Clinics from June 25 – 28, 2012 tentatively to be conducted at the Samar National School Social Hall to cater to different music enthusiasts and students alike. The said Band Clinic will be led by the mission’s 17-member band. Consequently, a journalism and photography clinic will be conducted on those dates to be conducted in partnership with the Catbalogan City Camera Club (CCCC).

On June 29, a Basketball Clinic is set to be conducted at Catbalogan City in partnership with the Catbalogan Basketball Association (CABA). And on June 30, a Children Activity is scheduled in the city to cater to out-of-school youths for a possible outreach and some joint enrichment.

Also for the PAO, an Acoustic Concert will be conducted on June 20 and a Rock Concert on June 22 to be held at Nijaga Park at Calbayog City. The mission are also inviting student groups, NGOs, and different organizations to actually visit the ship itself for a guided tour.

For more inquiries on the schedules for the medical activities, do get in touch with Dr. Tizon at City Health Office (055) 251-6937 at Pier Dos, Allen Avenue Extension, Catbalogan City, Samar.

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