News Release

Bayanihan: The Philippine Navy and LDS Charities

A look at the partnership of the Philippine Navy and LDS Charities on the occasion of the 3rd anniversary of the Civil Military Operations Group-PN

Fifteen years ago, LDS Charities (LDSC) and the Philippine Navy crossed paths.  That momentous event signaled the start of a long term friendship dotted with service projects and cooperation over the years.

Colonel  Benjamin Espiritu, head of the 7th Marine Brigade, Reservist Unit of the Philippine Marine Corps first heard of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when Church members held a CPR training with his group. 

According to Espiritu, “This encounter led to the organizing of various civic action missions starting from Quezon and all the way down to Mindanao.  After that, more collaboration took place with LDS Charities, the social arm of the Church.”

Colonel Rodylyn T. Manzano, Deputy Brigade Commander and G7 for Civil, Military Operations, 7th Marine Brigade, emphasized the need for a partnership by quoting from the AFP’s Internal Peace and Security Plan “Bayanihan” Handbook.  

It states, "The primary objective of AFP internal security operations shall be ‘Winning the Peace’ rather than simply defeating the enemy. A focus on winning the peace is likewise an acknowledgement that a purely military solution will never be enough to achieve peace. Unity and harmony of efforts with other stakeholders is essential.”

Benson Misalucha, director of the Church’s welfare department in the Philippines, said, “We were impressed by the organization and discipline of the Marines and how well they work with thecommunity. We see the Marine Corps as a trustworthy partner on the ground.”

A recent project typifying a true Bayanihan spirit was the building of Barangay Multi-Purpose Shelters in Cateel, Boston and Bagangga after Typhoon Pablo.

All three structures were completed before 2013 ended.  In this Bayanihan project, the Church contributed construction materials and supplies while the Marines and Sailors from the 7th Battalion Naval Construction Brigade (SEABEES) prepared the plans and design, and constructed the community shelters.

Vice-Adm. Jose Luis M. Alano thought of the project as he saw the sad plight of survivors trying to recover from the fury of Pablo.  Roads and bridges were down during this time and what was once thought of as a place where typhoons don’t happen became a place of devastation.  Alano recalled, “These barangay multi-purpose shelters will serve as a beacon of hope to people of Davao Oriental.  It is a common mentality that when people see governments recover then they are assured that everything will work out fine.”

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For 2013, LDS Charities also turned over to the Philippine Army medical supplies distributed to people in Negros.  The Philippine Marines and LDSC also partnered in the distribution of food & hygiene kits in Iloilo, Coron, Busuanga and Culion after Typhoon Yolanda.

Projects in recent years are as follows:

Wheelchair training and distribution 

  • The Marines provided much-needed storage space for the wheelchairs supplied by LDSC until they were distributed to other Church partners.
  • Wheelchairs from a supplier in Cagayan de Oro were also accommodated for transport to Manila via C130 aircraft.

Lobster farming

  • The Marine Battalion Landing Team 11 based in Bunbon, Patikul , Sulu, partnered with the Church in the provision of 15 lobster cages to selected  beneficiaries on a pay forward type of project.
  • The Church provided the materials to build the cages.  The fishermen, with the help of the Marines, who provided security as well as manpower, built the cages.


School supplies 

  • School kits have been distributed in selected barangays in Tawi-Tawi and Sulu.

Medical and Dental Civic Action Program 

  • The Marine Battalion Landing Team-10 in Talipao, Sulu delivered needed medical and dental services to the indigenous people of the region.
  • The Marines worked with LDS Charities to distribute wheelchairs for identified beneficiaries. Medicines were also donated.

Children in Tent Cities

  • Kits with whistles, raincoats and hygiene materials were provided to survivors living in “no build zones” in Cagayan de Oro which were later provided with temporary shelter in coordination with Catholic Relief Services (CRS).  The Marines helped identify land for temporary tents while LDSC and CRS built the shelters.  LDSC provided the materials while CRS provided labor and supervision of the projects.

Vice-Adm.  Alano, in reference to the ongoing partnerships with LDS Charities and the many stakeholders coming in congruence to help rebuild lives, said, “This is a true Bayanihan spirit.”

LDS Charities is grateful for the appreciation extended by the Naval Reserve through a Plaque of Recognition awarded to LDSC last December 11, 2013 and the AFP Command Bayanihan trophy given last December 19, 2013.

“We look forward to continuing the relationship that began years ago as we work to bring relief following the natural and man-made disasters that regularly affect the Philippines,” Benson stated. “We are followers of Christ, taught to seek out those in need, and we are grateful to have friends like you.  We look forward to many more years of working together,” he added.

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