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US, Filipino troops hold MEDCAP in Basilan remote town

August 25, 2010

TABUAN LASA, BASILAN, Aug. 24 — Hundreds of residents, including children, have availed of the joint American and Filipino troops' Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) in this town ten nautical miles south off this province' mainland.

The parents, especially the mothers, patiently fetched their children and other family members who need medical attention to Lanawan Elementary School where the MEDCAP was held Monday, and avail of free medication.

After listing their names and given corresponding numbers, the residents fell in line to the mobile clinic which was set up at the school's stage.

Each of the patients were given free medicines corresponding to their needs following free medical consultations at the mobile clinic.

The mobile clinic was jointly manned by the municipal health personnel as well as American and Filipino troops where they rendered free medical consultations.

Free medicines were given to the patients as well as vitamins to the children.

“We are trying our best to address health related problems in remote areas,” Marine Battalion Landing Team-7 (MBLT-7) commander Lt. Col. Doroteo Jose Jalandoni said of the MEDCAP.

Jalandoni said the holding of the MEDCAP is one tool of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the fight against insurgency and terrorism.

The outreach mission is aimed to win the hearts and minds of the civilian populace to support the government's anti-insurgency and anti-terror campaign and to bring the government closer to the people, Jalandoni said.

Jalandoni said they have chosen the municipality Tabuan Lasa, which comprises of four islands, since the town is one of the remote areas in this province.

Tabuan Lasa, which locally means market of love, stands for Tapiantana, Bubuan, Lanawan, and Saluping, which are the names of the four islands.

This town is a newly-created municipality, which was created on March 29, 2008, through an act of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao's (ARMM) Regional Legislative Assembly (RLA).

While the MEDCAP was going on, the American troops from the civil affairs of the LCE 732 entertained the school children by introducing and playing with them the sports of kick ball and touching ball.

The American and Filipino troops have also distributed toothbrush and toothpaste to Grade I school pupils and taught them the proper way of brushing their teeth.

Mayor Muctar Junaid has expressed his utmost gratitude to the American and Filipino troops for the holding of the MEDCAP in this town.

“This (MEDCAP) is a big help to our constituents,” Junaid said citing this town lacks health facilities and do not have its own hospital being a newly-created municipality.

Junaid said the MEDCAP Monday is the first time of its kind in this town since the municipality was created in 2008.

A Veterinary Civic Action Program (VETCAP) was held Tuesday which is aimed to immunize and treat farm working animals of the residents of this infant municipality.

The American and Filipino troops were warmly welcomed by the officials of this town led by Junaid, the town councilors and department heads.

This town, which has a total of 12 barangays and 25,959 population based on the 2007 Population Census (POPCEN) of the National Statistics Office (NSO), is a 30-minute ride from mainland Basilan via Maluso town by watercraft locally known as “jungkung.”

In traveling from Isabela City, the province' capital, it takes an hour and a half travel by jungkung.

The jungkung, which has a maximum capacity of nine people, is a locally designed and fabricated watercraft and powered by three engines at 13-horse power each.

Majority of the residents in this town rely on fishing and farming as means of livelihood. (PNA).

Source: Bayanihan
               (Filipino news about people, events and the environment)

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