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Balikatan Exercise Offers Livelihood Opportunity to Locals in Tarlac; Tourism Activity Continues

Stalls at Balikatan Exercise
Food, souvenir, and barber stalls set by the residents of Sta Juliana Capas Tarlac, at Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base (CERAB) in Crow Valley- among the sites for live fire training for Balikatan Exercise 38-23 in Northern Luzon Command Joint Operational Area.

Camp Aquino, Tarlac City, April 13, 2023 – The ongoing Balikatan exercises 38-23 at Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base (CERAB) in Crow Valley, Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac, is a big help for small businesses and to the livelihood of the residents of said town after allowing them to set up their food, souvenir, and barber stalls near the area.

The CERAB in Capas, Tarlac, is among the sites for live fire training for Balikatan Exercise 38-23 in Northern Luzon Command Joint Operational Area.

According to Diana Sarmiento, one of the food vendors who owned one of the 40 stalls established near the exercise area claimed that the Balikatan Exercise offers a livelihood opportunity for them.
“Most of us do not have jobs, which is why we are grateful of the Balikatan Exercise taking place in our area, a source for our daily basic necessities, even temporarily.” She said.

The residents and vendors also shared their insights and understanding about the ongoing Balikatan Exercise, adding that the exercise is beneficial for both their livelihood and national security.

“We feel safe and secured; we can see the exercise they are holding and the strong relationship between the two countries. The training that they are doing will surely make our military forces stronger.” Said Mr. Sherwin Capiral of Sta. Juliana, Capas, Tarlac.

Stalls at Balikatan Exercise

Meanwhile, Ms Maita Claire L Bartolome, Capas Tarlac’s acting Tourism Officer, told the public that tourism in the municipality is continuous despite the ongoing Balikatan Exercise.

“The Balikatan Exercise did not hamper the ongoing tourism activities here in Tarlac; we are still in full operation, except that we set an early cut-off time.”

She also urged tourists, particularly those who wished to visit Mt. Pinatubo, to come and visit the site, noting that the Balikatan exercise and the tourism industry had benefited the locals of Barangay Sta Juliana, Capas, Tarlac, with their small businesses.

The Balikatan exercise kicked off on April 11 and will run until April 28, an annual bilateral exercise between the Filipino and US forces – the largest iteration of Balikatan to date.

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