US Embassy: “no military exercises or war games in Mindanao or Sulu”

The press release did not specify in which areas in Mindanao they were going to conduct the “humanitarian assistance,” citing only “Central and Western Mindanao” and “the Sulu Archipelago” where “approximately 23 humanitarian assistance projects” will be conducted within the period.

Mindanao has 27 provinces and 33 cities.

The press release said “approximately 600 U.S. troops will work with civilian authorities and the AFP (Armed Forces in the Philippines) in these regions on humanitarian projects” and that the joint teams will offer “free medical, dental, and veterinary care.”

“They will also construct and repair schools and other community infrastructures in areas of Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago that are in great need of assistance. The majority of U.S. personnel are construction engineers and medical specialists.  They will be working side-by-side with their AFP counterparts who will be in charge of all projects,” the US Embassy said.

 “These humanitarian assistance and training activities enable our soldiers to get to know each other, train together, and provide assistance in communities where the need is greatest,” the press release quoted U.S. Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney as saying. “True to the meaning of the word Balikatan, Americans and Filipinos are shouldering the load together to help the greatest possible number of people in need,” it said. (MindaNews)