By Freddie Lazaro
SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union — Joint forces from the United States (US) Marines and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have conducted a groundbreaking ceremony for the renovation of several schools and a daycare center in Casiguran, Aurora province.
In a press report from the US embassy, the construction work is a joint civic assistance activity, which forms part of the upcoming US-Philippine bilateral military exercise dubbed KAMANDAG.
KAMANDAG is an acronym for the Filipino phrase “Kaagapay Ng Mga Mandirigma Ng Dagat,” which translates to “Cooperation of Warriors of the Sea,” highlighting the partnership between the Philippine and United States militaries.
The Philippine and US service members are conducting engineering and construction projects at three different sites in Casiguran town.
Military service members from both countries would work together during these bilateral projects to assist local populations and strengthen the ties between the Philippines and the US.
The renovations of C.J. Torre Elementary School, Esperanza Elementary School and Esperanza Daycare Center aim to provide the children with a more spacious, modern and comfortable environment in which to learn and play. The project includes building new classrooms and canteens. and updating electrical wiring.
US military medical teams also taught basic lifesaving skills, disease prevention and dental hygiene to a group of almost 600 Girl Scouts while in Casiguran.
These projects precede the official start of KAMANDAG but are considered a preparatory part of the exercise.
Bilateral exercises like KAMANDAG strengthen working relationships and increase the ability for service members to respond rapidly to real-world terrorists or humanitarian crises.
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