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Sarangani to host Balikatan exercises

The next Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercises between the Philippines and the United States will be held in the town of Glan in Sarangani Province from June 28 to July 9.

Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao operations officer Navy. Lt. Joseph Armand Sieras said the exercise, codenamed “Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Exercise 2012,” aims to strengthen the relationship of both navies and enhance their mutual cooperation.

The joint exercise will also conduct medical and dental missions, including building and community relations as well as humanitarian services in selected barangays.

Sieras told Glan Mayor Victor James Yap that through these programs, “we hope to improve the quality of life and the general health and welfare of local residents, including government employees, and enable both navies to build a more personal relationship with them.”

Assisted by local government personnel, a joint survey team, led by US Navy Captain Wally Lovely, have started visiting several possible sites for the civil military operation activities, including Glan Central Elementary School and Glan School of Arts and Trades.

The team later met with Provincial Governor Miguel Rene Dominguez and Yap for the formal acceptance rites held aboard the RPS Miguel Malvar at the Glan Wharf.