All set for PH-US military exercise in Eastern Visayas

ORMOC CITY -- It’s all system go for the conduct of “Balikatan” (shoulder-to-shoulder) military exercise between the Philippines and the United States in this city and in Guiuan, Eastern Samar with the arrival of foreign troops, army official said.

Lieutenant Colonel Miguel Ceballos, chief of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division civil military operations confirmed that US soldiers would continue to arrive to this city this week for the formal opening of Balikatan 2017 on May 2 in Ormoc and May 8 in Guiuan.

“This year’s Balikatan has no actual military exercises. They are here purely for humanitarian works,” Ceballos said on Thursday.

US troops and Filipino soldiers of the Army’s 546th Engineering Construction Battalion will rehabilitate school buildings and health centers in two areas badly hit by Super Typhoon "Yolanda" in 2013.

Soldiers will also participate in medical missions and first aid training in the month-long “Balikatan” exercise.

Ceballos said that US troops would stay inside army camps after daily activities as part of security protocol.

“Balikatan” 2017 in Ormoc City is the first in Eastern Visayas region. (PNA)