Friday, May 16, 2014

'Balikatan 2014' participants cited

From the Philippine News Agency (May 16): 'Balikatan 2014' participants cited

United States Embassy deputy chief of mission Brian L. Goldbeck lauded on Friday the Filipino, American and Australian troopers who participated in the just-concluded "Balikatan 2014" exercises.

"Balikatan is not just about our militaries. It is about our people and about the friendships, camaraderie and ties that develop on a person-to-person level," he said.

The U.S. official also said that it is the spirit of friendship and camaraderie that "motivated the defenders of Bataan and Corregidor in 1942, . . . that kept the Philippines resistance fighting, . . . that brought peace to Mindanao, and the same spirit that responded to super typhoon 'Yolanda'."

"And it is that same spirit that will keep our alliance moving forward into the 21st century," he pointed out.

Meanwhile, "Balikatan 2014" Exercise Director for Philippines, Major Gen. Emeraldo Magnaye and his U.S. counterpart, Major Gen. Richard Simcock II, deputy commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific, both said other countries are welcome to participate in the annual event.

As this developed, Simcock said that as the Asia-Pacific region is evolving, it's evolving very, very rapidly and large exercises like "Balikatan" need to also evolve at a commensurate rate.

"When it evolves and other nations ask to come in and participate, we encourage that we look forward to the opportunity to work together with all nations within the nation," he said.

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