"Shouldering the Load Together"
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief Of Staff General Efren L. Abu declared Exercise Balikatan 2005 officially opened on 21 February 2005 during a ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo in Manila, headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. A top priority for Balikatan 2005 was joint cooperation in training to conduct humanitarian and civic assistance projects. Members from the US Army, Navy and Air Force worked side by side with their AFP counterparts.
Approximately 300 US personnel and 550 AFP personnel participated. Balikatan 2005 was the 21st in the series of these exercises. Medical Civic Action Projects included distributing medical supplies, seeing patients, and checking on animal health in the typhoon impacted area of Quezon province and in Laguna province. Engineering Civic Action Projects featured the construction of an economically vital 1.2 kilometer farm-to-market road connecting the towns of Alima to San Buenaventura, as well as building five classrooms for the San Buenaventura High School. Much of the labor and funding for this construction was donated by the local government and volunteers.
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