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Pacific Partnership mission kicks off in Philippines

11 March 2019

From LTJG Kassandra Collins, Pacific Partnership Public Affairs

Dignitaries and mission personnel attended an opening ceremony, March 11, as Pacific Partnership returned to Tacloban for the second time.

TACLOBAN, Philippines - Senior mission leadership, host nation and partner nation personnel attended the opening ceremony of the second Pacific Partnership mission stop in Tacloban, March 11.

“We could not be happier to welcome the Pacific Partnership mission and its team to Tacloban,” said Undersecretary Ricardo B. Jalad, the Administrator of the Office of Civil Defense. “This mission has fostered friendship and cooperation between the Philippines and our partner nations for many years and I know it will do the same this year.”

U.S., partner nation military members and non-governmental organization volunteers are scheduled to take part in a variety of projects while in Tacloban to include first aid training, preventative medicine training, various healthcare symposiums, veterinary services, engineering projects, disaster response seminars, and a variety of community outreach engagements with the overall goal of improving humanitarian and disaster preparedness in the Philippines.

“This is Pacific Partnership’s eighth visit to the Philippines,” said Capt. Randy Van Rossum commodore, Destroyer Squadron 1, the mission commander for Pacific Partnership 2019. “Each visit is a testament to our enduring partnership and collaborative commitment to improving humanitarian assistance and disaster response in the region.”

Pacific Partnership began in response to one of the world’s most catastrophic natural disasters, the December 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of South and Southeast Asia. The mission has evolved over the years from emphasis on direct care to an operation focused on enhancing partnerships through host nation subject matter expert and civil-military exchanges.

Working at the invitation of each host nation, Pacific Partnership is joined by partner nations that include Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand, and the United Kingdom to strengthen disaster response preparedness around the Indo-Pacific region.

The Philippines is one of several host nations for Pacific Partnership 2019. The Pacific Partnership mission teams will also make stops in the Federated States of Micronesia, Malaysia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. Experts in the fields of engineering, medicine and disaster response will partner with each host nation to conduct civic-action projects, community health exchanges, medical symposiums, and disaster response training activities.

Pacific Partnership’s mission is to work collectively with host and partner nations to enhance regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increase stability and security in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships across the Indo-Pacific region. Pacific Partnership, now in its 14th iteration, is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific region.

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