The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) formalized its partnership with a volunteers’ group on Monday, Oct. 3, to improve humanitarian operations in remote and conflict-afflicted areas in Mindanao.

Photo by Armed Forces of the Philippines

A memorandum of agreement was signed by the AFP represented by Vice Adm. Rommel Anthony SD Reyes, AFP deputy chief of staff; and Mindanao Humanitarian Volunteers for Peace Inc., (MHVP) represented by its president, Dr. Maria Theresa Heyrosa, at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, AFP Chief of Staff, said the agreement further strengthened both parties’ cooperation in bringing services to the people.

The agreement stated that the AFP will extend to MHVP security and transportation assistance during the conduct of their humanitarian missions. The assistance is subject to the availability of the AFP’s resources as determined by their units on the ground.

The AFP will also help identify areas where medical and humanitarian services will be conducted in coordination with MHVP and local government units.

The MHVP, in coordination with the AFP’s Mindanao-based units, has conducted numerous medical and humanitarian missions in geographically isolated and disadvantaged communities in Mindanao.

Some of these include the municipalities of Indanan, Luuk, Omar, Kalingalang Caluang, Panamao, Banguingui, Pata, Siasi in Sulu; Languyan, Sapa-Sapa Island, and South Ubian in Tawi-Tawi; island municipalities in Basilan; San Fernando in Bukidnon; and Paquibato District in Davao City.

Bacarro thanked the MHVP for their “genuine heart for public service and burning spirit of patriotism.”

“As the AFP Chief of Staff, I would like to reaffirm our commitment that we shall maximize our resources and capabilities to strengthen our partnership with stakeholders, intensify our civil-military efforts to deliver more responsive and relevant community support programs, and continuously partake in the peace-building and national development agenda of our national government,” Bacarro said in a speech delivered by Reyes.

Source: Manila Bulletin (