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GI mission in Albay targets 10,000 people

LEGAZPI CITY—At least 10,000 of the poorest of the poor in Albay were expected to avail themselves of free medical services courtesy of American soldiers in a mission viewed with suspicion by the militant left.
The humanitarian mission, put together by the US and Philippine military, started giving free medical and dental services to at least 700 residents of Albay on Monday.
Dubbed “Pacific Angel,” the mission is being carried out by 381 American and Filipino enlisted men, said Lt. Col. Augusto Gaite, of the Philippine Air Force and key player in the mission.
Lt. Col. Michael Black, of the US Air Force and head of Pacific Angel, said more than 10,000 residents of Albay were expected to benefit from the mission.
At the start of the mission on Sunday, at least 99 US soldiers put up a tent hospital in this city. Tents, equipment and supply were brought in aboard two US military cargo planes.
US soldiers also provided free medical, dental and optometry services to residents in the towns of Guinobatan and Sto. Domingo.
Other US soldiers repaired classrooms in this city and in the town of Daraga. They replaced roofs, ceilings, windows and doors. They also fixed electrical systems and painted walls in the classrooms.
The mission, however, was viewed with suspicion by the left. A spokesperson of the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Bicol said the mission was just a “publicity gimmick to divert attention from its real purpose which is to make the presence of US troops in the country more acceptable.”
Missions like the one brought by US soldiers in Albay, according to Bayan Bicol spokesperson John Concepcion, “are always paired with surveillance operations and spying.”
 |  | Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 | Article Link


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