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Teamwork Under Construction in the Philippines

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080610-13
Release Date: 6/10/2008 2:35:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Michael C. Barton, USNS Mercy Public Affairs

COTABATO, Republic of the Philippines (NNS) -- Seabees from San Diego-based Amphibious Construction Battalion 1 and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 of Gulfport, Miss., have been working together with the Royal Australian Army Engineers and the Armed Forces of the Philippines Engineers as part of Pacific Partnership 2008.

The effort is part of the four-month humanitarian and civic mission to Southeast Asia and Oceania, during which Seabees have been conducting engineering civic action programs (ENCAP) in the cities of Mindanao and Samar.

Along with ENCAPs, USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) Sailors are participating in medical, dental and veterinary civic action programs with host nation personnel and non-governmental organizations to enhance the local communities in the Republic of the Philippines.

"Working right beside our Australian and Philippine counterparts is a good learning experience," said Chief Equipment Operator (SCW) James Brock, adding that there was a learning curve.

"It took a little time to get used to everyone's different trades and techniques."

One project under construction is the Tamontaka Health Center, where more than 7,000 patients are treated per month. The clinic provides a range of services, including prenatal care, child birth and postpartum care.

"It feels really good to know we're making a positive impact on this community," said Builder 3rd Class Jonathan Raney. "I'm taking something I love to do and making a difference to someone else's life."

Seabees replaced and realigned the roof and installed a septic tank and bathroom at the health center. They will also install sinks, a baby washing station, and provide running water to the clinic.

After the Republic of the Philippines, Mercy will take Pacific Partnership 2008 to Vietnam, the Federated States of Micronesia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea.

For more news from U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cpf.

For more news from Pacific Partnership 2008, visit www.navy.mil/local/PP08/.

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