Pets receive vaccinations during Balikatan 2012
A Purok Abanico health worker from the San Pedro barangay (left) and U.S. Army Sgt. 1st. Class Brian M. Reed, civil affairs team sergeant, Combined Joint Civil Military Operations Task Force, Puerto Princesa, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Republic of the... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines (April 17, 2012) -- Free veterinary care was provided April 13, 2012, for pets of the San Pedro barangay, Puerto Princesa Palawan, Philippines, during Exercise Balikatan 2012, which officially began April 16.

Armed Forces of the Philippines, local community health workers, and U.S. Army Soldiers teamed up to provide pets vaccinations in areas where the need is greatest as part of the veterinary civic assistance project, known as a VETCAP.

BK12 consists of series of humanitarian and civic assistance projects to improve Philippine-U.S. military civic assistance interoperability.

Working together, the VETCAP teams target the documented cases of canine rabies with anti-rabies vaccinations as well as deworming for internal and external parasites.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Maj. Galahad L. Trabado, commanding officer of the veterinary corps, K-9 Division, Puerto Princesa, Palawan,Philippines, pointed out that the San Pedro barangay has a high percentage of rabies cases and that BK12 is a "big" help to dogs and cats.

Trabado and U.S. Army Capt. Angelina C. Gerardo, lead veterinary officer for BK12, both agreed that keeping the dogs disease free ultimately protects the people of the barangays.

"Children who handle dogs the most here, are a common target for dog bites," Trabado and Gerardo said.

According to Trabado, there are hundreds of dogs and cats in Puerto Princesa in need of the veterinary care provided by the VETCAPs.

The primary goal for the VETCAPs is to prevent and protect against incidents of rabies and to prevent the transfer of any disease from animals to humans said Gerardo.

There are six barangay's participating in the free veterinary care provided by the VETCAPs.

"This is a good project for the U.S. and Philippine forces," Trabado said. He noted that he hopes for a Philippines country that will be rabies free by the year 2020.

Humanitarian assistance and training activities enable our service members to get to know each other, train together, and provide assistance to local communities, while building longstanding partnerships.

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STAND-TO!: Balikatan 2011