Pacific Partnership 2019
TACLOBAN CITY- For the next two weeks, residents of this city would be seeing foreign servicemen and women, notably Americans, doing some beach cleaning and repair works of some public schools.
The foreign soldiers, who are mostly assigned in the Navy, are part of the around 200-strong men and women who comprises the delegation in this year’s Pacific Partnership who will do series of activities in selected areas in the city.
The two-week activity was formally opened on Monday (March 11) with Mayor Cristina Romualdez expressing her gratitude to the foreign delegation for coming to the city for the second time.
According to the city mayor, their coming to Tacloban will be a big help to the city and its people who still vividly recalled what happened to them almost five years ago.
Tacloban was considered as the ground zero when the world’s strongest typhoon to hit inland, super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ hit Eastern Visayas on November 8,2013 that resulted to loss of more than 2,200 lives and destruction of properties amounting to billions of pesos.
The group arrived in the city in 2014 which conducted in the rehabilitation of several public schools, among others.
For this year’s Pacific Partnership, the participating soldiers coming from the US, United Kingdom, Canada, Peru, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Japan,Malaysia and Thailand, are to conduct repairs of several public schools and health centers in the city as well as help on a beach clean-up.
They will also conduct series of activities related risk reduction management.
John Law, US deputy chief of mission to the Philippines, said that they are just too glad to return to the country, one of the world’s most prone to natural disasters.
He called their two-week stay in the city as an ‘extraordinary mission.’
“We all know that when a natural disaster strikes, it is sudden and without warning. It is always catching people at the worst possible time and if we have not done any preparation…. causes extraordinary devastation to the individuals, to the communities, to the economies and to our lives,” he said.
For his part, Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, representing Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, said that the holding of the exercise in Tacloban is ‘very timely and remarkable’ in our campaign for disaster resilience.
The Pacific Partnership is considered to be the largest annual, multilateral disaster response preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific.
This annual maritime operation will help disaster response preparedness, resiliency and capacity while enhancing partnerships with participating nations and civilian humanitarian organizations within the Indo-Pacific area.
(JOEY A. GABIETA)