Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan – The 48th Infantry (GUARDIANS) Battalion participated in the Philippine-United States Balikatan 2019 (BK2019) Community Relations Activity in Bataan on March 27, 2019.
Part of the Balikatan activity was a magic show and a distribution of school supplies and hygiene kits to the children of the Aeta Magbukan tribe in Sitio Bayanbayanan, Brgy. Pag-asa, Orani, Bataan.
To showcase the beautiful culture of the Aeta Magbukan, headed by their tribal chieftain, Mr Enrico Ramos, a demonstration of the different survival techniques of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) was presented. A tribal dance was also performed for the visitors and sponsors of the activity.
To cap off the day, a friendly basketball game between Philippines and US soldiers was held.
Balikatan is an annual Philippine-US military bilateral training exercise that is a signature element of the Philippine-US alliance focused on a variety of missions to include humanitarian assistance, maritime law enforcement, and environmental protection. The activity held yesterday is part of the humanitarian and civic assistance of the US-AFP Community Relations (COMREL) activity. 1st Lieutenant Oscarito Tobias of the 48IB provided security and manpower assistance to the participants, to include the 170 IP attendees of the activity.
Collaborative efforts from COMREL team led by Captain Joel P Albarda PN and the US COMREL counterpart, the US Army Engineers from ENCAP 4, the US Civil Affairs team, the 355 AEW PAF and Barangay Chairman Joel Villafuerte of Brgy. Pag-asa contributed to the success of the activity.
Major General Lenard T. Agustin AFP, Commander of the 7th Infantry (Kaugnay) Division, said, “It is through this activity that we introduce to our US counterpart the culture of our country. The active participation of our IPs in this activity signifies that they welcome other nations’ support in uplifting their lives, and that they trust them to bring peace and development.”
Lieutenant Colonel Felix Emeterio M. Valdez, Acting Commanding Officer, 48IB added, “The Balikatan activity does not merely involve soldiers and those who are in the military profession. It is an activity that solidifies the partnership of countries for peace and development; it embraces different cultures together with the community it represents.”