ORMOC CITY- A group of American and Filipino soldiers met with Mayor Richard Gomez of this city to discuss the holding of a “Balikatan” exercises slated next year.
Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez, who met the group on Thursday (Sept. 14), has expressed his support to their proposal to help enhance the peace and order situation in the city.
Making the city secure in so far as its peace and order is concerned is one of the priorities of Mayor Gomez saying this could lead to investors coming to Ormoc.
The planned Balikatan exercises in Ormoc are slated April next year.
Balikatan exercises are designed to maintain and develop the security relationship between the Philippines and the US armed forces through crisis-action planning, humanitarian assistance, enhanced training to counter terrorism and promoting inter-operability of the forces.
Captain Louis Kalmar, humanitarian and civic assistance planner of the Philippine-US Balikatan program, said that aside from the enhanced military training there will be medical mission, humanitarian assistance like constructing new school buildings and toilets in classrooms, renovations of school buildings, providing books and learning materials and other capabilities intended for students in the communities.
Asked if the move of President Rodrigo Duterte to pull out the US Armed Forces in Mindanao will not affect the planned Balikatan, Gomez said that since the move to pull them out is not yet final, it is best to push through with the initial talks to do Balikatan here.
“What will benefit most the people of Ormoc, will always be my priority,” Gomez said.
Kalmar said they planned to return to Ormoc on December to cement the Balikatan 2017. (VICKY C. ARNAIZ)