GUIMBA, Republic of the Philippines --
Members of the Philippine Armed Forces and Nurses Corps along with U.S. Marines and sailors from Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, teamed up to support a medical and dental civil assistance program designed to provide needed healthcare at Guimba’s Paaralang Elementary School at Barangay Manggang Marikit, Oct. 18-20.
The joint service interoperability event was a part of the annual Exercises Talon Vision and Amphibious Landing Exercise FY 2009 (PHIBLEX).
The event provided medical and dental care, antibiotics, pharmaceutical medication, toothbrushes, toothpaste, juice and water for over 900 locals during the first two days.
“I am very thankful we all came and were provided medical and dental care,” said Cecelia Mendoza, a Guimba resident. “My cousin was also treated here and it makes me feel good knowing members of my family were affected by the services provided.”
Starting at 8 a.m., locals seeking medical assistance began to flow through the school’s front gate. Upon entry, patients filled out identification and screening forms that contained information such as name, height and weight. The patients’ vitals were recorded to include their blood pressure.
After a short wait, the patients went to either the medical or dental lines to be seen.
“It was very quick and easy, and the people were very nice,” Mendoza said.
Despite decayed teeth being pulled and immunization shots given, smiles and laughs riddled the site.
“It feels great to help here especially because I was born and raised here,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Geraldo Cortado, the health service support leading petty officer with CLB-31. “It’s like payback and at the same time it fosters positive relations. I can’t explain in words how happy I am when I see the kids’ playful faces.”
Service members from both nations worked for eight hours amidst the tropical heat, successfully ending the day at about 4 p.m.
“I would like to say thanks to the U.S. Marines and sailors supporting us in the MEDCAPs and DENCAPs,” said Philippine Marine Capt. Enrico Ramones, the civil military operations officer for PHIBLEX ’09. “Everyone is doing great so far working together in these outreach events.”
Marines and sailors with the MEU and Essex Expeditionary Strike group are scheduled to continue MEDCAP/DENCAP events throughout PHIBLEX ’09.