Friday, 18 October, 2019

US, PH hold military drills under Duterte

Lt Gen Emmanuel B Salamat AFP PH Exercise Director BK 18 His Excellency Sung Y Kim US Ambassador to the Philippines Defense Sec Delfin Lorenzana AFP Chief-of Staff Lt Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr and Lt Gen Lawrence D Nicholson US Exercise Directo US, PH hold military drills under Duterte
Patty Aguilar | 08 May, 2018, 00:10

The Balikatan exercises opened Monday and were to involve combat drills in mock urban settings to train special forces in battling terrorists in cities after the Islamic State group-linked siege in Marawi City a year ago.

Contingents from Australia and Japan are also taking part in the two-week exercise.

Almost 3,000 US troops and 5,000 Philippine soldiers are participating in the drills, which will last for 10 days and will focus on improving joint humanitarian and counter-terrorism efforts in crisis situations, according to military officials.

This year, 3,000 United States troops are expected to join different exercises such as humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) operations, counter-terrorism, and urban warfare among others.

Last year, about 2,400 USA troops joined the drills with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

"The bulk of this training will be done in Nueva Ecija, with our special operations forces together with United States special operations forces... to be able to effectively combat future scenarios [where] we can effectively employ necessary tactics, procedures needed in countering terrorism", Salamat said.

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Highs are forecast to be in the low 80s to mid-70s on Thursday and Friday , and the mid-60s on the weekend. The weather service said there is a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms late Tuesday afternoon.

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Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, the USA director for the "Balikatan" or "shoulder-to-shoulder" drills, told reporters 8,000 Filipino and American soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors were expected to participate in the Balikatan drills.

He said that the combined military exercise will enable the two militaries to "deliver a more effective response when operating together" whether in a "natural disaster" or "man-made crisis".

"[The exercises] also will incorporate training identified in the post-Marawi action reports, such as military operation in urban terrain", US Ambassador to the Philippines Sun Kim said, as quoted by the publication. On the other hand, more than 800 militants were killed during the operation.

Also at the opening program were Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat of the AFP Northern Luzon Command, who is the Exercise Director for the Philippines, and his counterpart Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson of the USA 3rd Marine Expeditionary Forces. "And we hope that there will be greater multilateral dimensions for future Balikatan exercises", Kim said.

The opening of the Balikatan exercises today.

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