Pacific Angel: U.S., Philippines partnership thrives

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Natasha Smith, medical technician with the 15th Medical Operation Squadron, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, measures vitals of a man from Bogo City during Pacific Angel (PACANGEL) 2017 in Northern Cebu Province, Philippines, June 26.

Story and photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Andrejcik
Pacific Air Forces

The Pacific Angel 2017 team has arrived in Northern Cebu Province, Philippines, where they will live and work in the community for two weeks.

More than 100 active duty U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy, Nevada Air National Guard as well as five other Pacific nations are delivering humanitarian assistance and conducting subject matter expert exchanges with their Filipino counterparts.

Pacific Angel mission commander Lt. Col. Edward Khim, who is participating in his third PACANGEL, believes the mission set is unique, but not uncommon for those serving in the Pacific.

“This region is prone to natural disasters, so there is a real need to be prepared for humanitarian missions,” he said. “PACANGEL is a valuable primer to help with engagement and to work with our host nation doctors and engineers. We work together and learn from each other to be prepared to respond to crises.”

As the trip unfolds, the medical and civil engineering teams are able to see exactly where they will be making a difference.

A girl from Bogo City finishes her dental treatment during PACANGEL 2017.

In nearby barangays, which is the Filipino native term for village, local residents from Bogo City, San Remigio and Northern Cebu Province will be the beneficiaries of medical care and facility renovations.

“This is my first time participating in PACANGEL and I’m glad to be a part of this event,” said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 2nd Lt. Ann Margaret Mordido, AFP medical administrator. “I think this will be very good for the community, especially those in Northern Cebu who are far from the treatment facilities and care concentrated in the cities.”

Sharing advanced practices and techniques to help sustain better healthcare, security and infrastructure are key objectives during PACANGEL.

This exchange of knowledge contributes to building stronger Pacific relationships between the U.S. military, host nations, multilateral military, nongovernmental organizations and civilian partners.

According to Khim, focus on improving these areas has been a staple in past PACANGEL missions and remains a prominent objective during this exchange.

“Our health service outreach to local communities includes small scale clinic specialties such as general medicine, optometry, and dental and physical therapy,” he said. “The engineering portion focuses on refurbishment and repair of structures and plumbing on facilities.”

With this being Mordido’s first PACANGEL and seeing the impact it has had already, she believes the mission is truly invaluable, not only for Filipino civilians but for the AFP members as well.

“This is a very good experience for me working with a [diverse] group of people, especially with those in the medical field,” Mordido said. “In the planning stages I’ve learned a lot and I think I’m going to learn a lot more in the execution because I’ll get to see all aspects of it.”

This year several countries in addition to the Philippines are scheduled to host PACANGEL missions, including Fiji, Vietnam, and Nepal.

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Category: News