From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 23): Balikatan Exercises to start May 5
The Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Armed Forces will begin this year’s Balikatan Exercises on May 5, 2014.
The event will be formally opened at the AFP Commissioned Officers Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
The annual bilateral combined exercise will focus on Maritime Security, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR), and Humanitarian Civic Assistance (HCA).
According to AFP, staff planning exercises will be held in Camp Aguinaldo and at the Western Command in Puerto Princesa City, while field training exercises will be conducted in military camps in Luzon: Clark Air Base, Crow Valley and Fort Magsaysay.
Military medical personnel from both Philippines and U.S. Forces will also offer free medical, dental and veterinary care to communities in Legazpi City as part of the Balikatan’s HCA. Likewise, military engineers will construct and repair schools and other community infrastructure in selected areas in Bicol.
Balikatan 2014 is structured to further develop the AFP in crisis-action planning, enhancing its ability to effectively conduct counterterrorism operations, and promote interoperability with the U.S. Armed Forces.
The annual exercise is consistent with the Mutual Defense Treaty and Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the U.S. which aims to continue both countries’ commitment to train, share information and provide support to each other.
The Balikatan exercises will run until May 16, 2014.