Nearly 2,000 military and medical personnel from the United States, the Philippines, Australia, Chile, South Korea, and the United Kingdom participated in Pacific Partnership 2022 (PP22), the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance exercise conducted in the Indo-Pacific, which concluded in Palawan on August 16.
U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Heather Variava attended the PP22 closing ceremonies aboard the 1,000-bed hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), which has been docked in Puerto Princesa City since July 27. British Ambassador Laure Beaufils, Puerto Princesa City Vice Mayor Maria Nancy Socrates, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Vicente Bartolome Bacarro, and AFP Western Command (WesCom) Commander Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos were also present.
Over two weeks, U.S. sailors from the USNS Mercy and medical professionals from the Philippines and partner nations performed more than 9,600 medical procedures benefiting residents from seven barangays in Puerto Princesa City and conducted nearly two hundred surgeries aboard the U.S. hospital ship.
Participating military personnel worked side by side to complete several humanitarian assistance projects, including the renovation of barangay halls and schools, community health engagements, and exchanges of advanced emergency rescue and lifesaving techniques. These activities improved local infrastructure, enhanced medical capacity-building, and strengthened ties between the local community and military forces.
“It is inspiring to see this multilateral effort as an opportunity to provide medical services to the residents of Puerto Princesa City while also enabling our forces to train alongside local health officials and work together on community-building projects to ensure that we are prepared for future crises,” U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Variava said. “PP22 is an amazing program that strengthens the bond between partner nations, and I look forward to our continued cooperation with our Philippine and international partners as we work together to support each other in jointly responding to natural disasters.”
“The coordination between the Philippine government and the local community, the AFP, and all our partner nations during PP22 contributed to enhanced understanding and cooperation, as well as prepared all involved to respond as partners to any hazard they we may face,” said U.S. Navy Captain Hank Kim, Pacific Partnership commander.
In his remarks, AFP Chief of Staff Bacarro emphasized the longstanding alliance between the U.S. and the Philippines as the foundation of the Pacific Partnership. “Every Pacific Partnership mission has transformed and further strengthened our regional interoperability and disaster response capabilities, increasing stability and security in the region,” Lt. Gen. Bacarro said. “Meaningful partnerships and missions such as this present us with a myriad of opportunities to forge new and enduring friendships across the Indo-Pacific region to further our national and regional security objectives.”
Now on its 17th iteration, Pacific Partnership promotes cooperation between military and civilian organizations to effectively prepare for disaster response.