CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar, Feb 14 (PIA) --The United States Navy Hospital Ship (USNS) Mercy, one of America’s premier hospital ships is returning to the country to hold another mission in Calbayog City in June 2012.
In a press conference at Ciriaco Hotel and Resort held recently, US Navy Lieutenant Commander Sonia Maria Lohmeyer said that the USNS Mercy will serve as the platform for up to 1,000 medical, engineering, technical, and administrative personnel, including several hundred volunteers.
Part of the mission is to conduct medical, engineering, and other humanitarian exercises (i.e. Disaster Response Preparedness) and subject matter exchanges (SME).
“The humanitarian exercise is a capacity building, calculating medications on how to respond during crisis situation,” she said.
LTC Lohmeyer added that there is still a great deal of work to accomplish before the Mercy sets sail from San Diego at the beginning of May.
The visit in Calbayog City was to meet the mayors of different localities in Samar led by Congressman Mel Senen Sarmiento.
In this Pacific Partnership PP 12 mission, local doctors and health care providers are also expected to participate, Lohmeyer said.
Bearing the theme “preparing in calm to respond in crisis,” the team of Pacific Partnership 2012 and some 200 participants gathered in San Diego, California, USA on January 30 and 31 for the Mid-Planning Conference (MPC) for the mission. All four host nations -- Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Cambodia -- sent high-level delegations, as well as their partner nations, including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, and Thailand.
In 2008, the USNS Mercy Ship also sailed to Calbayog City for Pacific Partnership 2008 where not only Calbayognons benefited from the medical mission but also to adjacent towns of Sta Margarita and Gandara.
Then US Ambassador to the Philippines, Kristie Kenny, visited Calbayog City during the closing ceremonies of Pacific Partnersship 2008.
At present, Calbayog City and nearby municipalities stand to benefit from this special mission to the Philippines. (PIA 8-Samar with Gina Dean Ragudo)