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Jun 06 2007

RP, US Marines Exchange Mementos, Plaques

 

Philippine Marines 1st Brigade commander, the decorated Col. Ramiro Alivio with Lt. Col. Imelda Dalupang receive and exchange plaques and mementos with United States Navy Capt. Michael McNamara in Basilan island, where Filipino and American troops are participating in a joint amphibious training called CARAT 2007.

CARAT, a regularly scheduled series of bilateral military training exercises with several Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) countries, is designed to enhance interoperability of the U.S. sea services, and those of friends and allies throughout the region in a variety of mission areas of mutual benefit. Purple Lingerie

The CARAT task group is made up of the guided-missile cruiser USS Vincennes (CG 49), dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), guided-missile frigate USS Curts (FFG 38), rescue and salvage ship USS Safeguard (ARS 50) and the 400-strong MAGTF, Landing Force Carat, embarked in the task group.

During the various phases of CARAT, which include exercises with the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia, training is scheduled in skill areas such as at-sea maneuvering and communications, command and control, diving and salvage, and amphibious operations.

The specific focus of training and the specific CARAT task group elements participating in each exercise phase will vary based on training goals.

A variety of seminars are also scheduled, as are social events that give exercise participants a chance to develop personal relationships so critical to combined operations. Sailors and Marines take time during each CARAT phase to participate in civil affairs, medical and community service projects.

A joint medical, dental, veterinary and engineering civic action program was conducted in the villages of Kaumpurnah and Lower Mahayahay in Basilan this week.

Jun 04 2007

U.S. Humanitarian Efforts Praised In Southern Philippines

Philippine and U.S. sailor unload boxes of humanitarian supplies. (Photo contributed by Mark Alvarez.)

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 04 Jun) – Filipino villagers praised U.S. soldiers involved in the humanitarian mission in the southern region of Mindanao, where Philippine and American forces are holding a joint naval warfare training.

Some 2,000 troops are currently participating in the ten-day “Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training,” known as CARAT 2007 which started last week.

CARAT 2007 is a combined naval tactical operations exercise involving fleet forces of both the Philippine and United States Navies. The exercise also focuses on relationship building through social and community service events such as providing free medical, dental, and veterinary care in host communities.

U.S. and Philippine sailors visited the Boalan Elementary School in Zamboanga City and donated sports equipment, books, food, and hygiene materials. They also provided free medical and dental care to villagers in Basilan island.

«We are really lucky about all these gifts and many students like me will benefit from the books donated by the Americans,» Bennie Santiago, a grade schooler, told the independent Mindanao Examiner newspaper.

“Partnership is the key theme of the bilateral naval exercises ongoing between the United States and Philippine Navies,” the U.S. Embassy said on Monday.

Three U.S. ships — the USS Harpers Ferry from Sasebo, Japan; the USS Ford from Everett, Washington; and the USS Jarrett from San Diego, California — and three smaller Philippine boats are participating in the training. (Mindanao Examiner)

Jun 01 2007

U.S. Officials Open Joint Military Training In South RP

U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney and Zamboanga City Mayor Celso Lobregat in Tumaga village, 01 June 2007.

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 1 June) – American Ambassador Kristie Kenney on Friday visited the southern Filipino port city of Zamboanga, where U.S. and Philippine troops are holding a joint amphibious training.

Kenney formally opened the 13th “Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training,” known as CARAT 2007.

CARAT 2007 is a combined naval tactical operations exercise involving fleet forces of both the Philippine and United States Navies. The exercise also focuses on relationship building through social and community service events such as providing free medical, dental, and veterinary care in host communities.

Kenney also inspected the USS Harper’s Ferry, one of three American naval ships participating in the exercise, and met with Philippine Army Lieutenant General Eugenio Cedo, chief of the Western Mindanao Command, to discuss on how to further expand joint humanitarian and development programs in the troubled region.

Local mayor Celso Lobregat welcomed the U.S. official who also toured several American-funded projects for development in the Zamboanga area.

While in Zamboanga, the ambassador visited poor Muslim communities and led U.S. and Filipino officials in distributing some 42,000 books to school libraries.

The books were donated under the Education Awareness Support Effort (EASE) program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and will go to more than 130 schools, allowing students to have access to encyclopedias, dictionaries, literature and short stories.

She visited the island of Pangapuyan Island, a remote community that received electricity through a program supported by the USAID under the AMORE Project, which aims to provide electricity to more than 400 remote and conflict-affected villages in Mindanao. AMORE also announced an additional $2 million to the program.

Kenney also inspected a hanging footbridge in Tumaga village which was built so villagers can safely and easily cross a river and improve their access to needed health, social and economic services in the town center.

The USAID, through its Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) program, built the new 30-meter long pedestrian footbridge to replace a deteriorating wooden bridge.

After a short tour in the village, Kenney also attended a roundtable discussion on tax collection with Lobregat and Zamboanga business leaders. Zamboanga City is one of 16 Mindanao cities participating in USAID’s and The Asia Foundation’s Transparent and Accountable Governance (TAG) Project.

Under TAG, participating city governments have committed themselves to enacting specific governance reforms to improve services and reduce corruption. Zamboanga City chose to reform its processes for collecting business taxes and issuing business permits. (Chris Navarra)

May 31 2007

Photo: Carat 2007

 

The United States Navy’s USS Harpers Ferry, a 16,500-ton amphibious warfare ship, and two 4,000-ton frigates, the USS Ford and USS Jarrett, and three smaller Filipino ships are participating in the ten-day war games called CARAT 2007 or Cooperation Afloat Readiness And Training. Some 2,000 troops are involved in the training that begins Thursday, 31 May 2007 off the Sulu Archipelago where local troops are battling members of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group and Jemaah Islamiya in the Sulu Archipelago. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

 

May 30 2007

RP, US War Games Starts Off Sulu Archipelago

The USS Harpers Ferry is surrounded by Filipino trawlers off the southern Philippines where some 2,000 U.S. and Philippine troops are to begin Thursday, 31 May 2007, a ten-day joint amphibious warfare called CARAT 2007, Cooperation Afloat Readiness And Training, in the Sulu Archipelago, where local security forces are battling members of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group and Jemaah Islamiya. About 6 ships from both countries will participate in the war games. (Mindanao Examiner Photo Service)

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 30 May) – The Philippine military on Wednesday tightened security at sea in the restive southern region where some 2,000 U.S. and Filipino troops are to begin a joint amphibious training.

Locals on Wednesday cheered from the sea coast as they waved at the USS Harpers Ferry anchored off Zamboanga City.

The ship is one of three that the United States sent to participate in the ten-day war games called CARAT 2007 or Cooperation Afloat Readiness And Training starting on Thursday in the Sulu Archipelago, where local troops are battling members of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group and Jemaah Islamiya.

The ship is being protected by U.S. and Philippine patrol boats. Filipino trawlers were also spotted near the USS Harpers Ferry.

The Philippines is also sending three smaller ships in the war games which will be held off Basilan island.

“There will also be joint medical mission in Zamboanga and Basilan (island),” Ensign Annaleah Palad, spokesperson for the Philippine Navy, told the independent regional newspaper, the Mindanao Examiner.

The Philippines is a staunch ally of the United States in the so-called global war on terror. Hundreds of U.S. troops are currently deployed in Zamboanga and Jolo island and other parts of Mindanao to help the Philippine military defeat local terrorist groups, blamed for the spate of bombings and kidnappings of foreigners in the troubled region. (Mindanao Examiner)

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