Friday, May 16, 2014

US-PHL 'Balikatan 2014' formally ends Friday

From the Philippine News Agency (May 15): US-PHL 'Balikatan 2014' formally ends Friday

"Balikatan 2014," the 30th iteration of the annual military maneuvers between United States and Filipino troops, formally concluded Friday morning.

Closing ceremonies took place at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Commissioned Officers' Club at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Present in the ceremonies were Defense Undersecretary Honorio Asqueta, who represented Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin; AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista; U.S. Embassy deputy chief of mission Brian L. Goldbeck; "Balikatan 2014" Exercise Director for the Philippines, Major Gen. Emeraldo Magnaye, and his U.S. counterpart, Major Gen. Richard Simcock II, deputy commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific.

Lt. (SG) Annaleah P. Cazcarro, Combined Joint Information Bureau co-director, said around 3,000 Filipino and 2,500 American soldiers participated in the annual Balikatan exercise which started last May 5.

These troops also took part in a series of staff exercises, field training exercises, and humanitarian and civic assistance activities held in the country.

The staff exercises were held in Camp Aguinaldo and in AFP Western Command in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

These exercises gathered together participants from the AFP and U.S. military as well as representatives from the Australian Defense Force in an academic discussion and crisis action planning on common "Balikatan 2014" scenarios.

Bilateral field training events were held in AFP camps in Luzon.

On May 9, a joint Philippines and U.S. Marines amphibious drill involving about 120 Filipino and American marine soldiers was held at the Naval Education and Training Command in San Antonio, Zambales.

Combined live-fire exercises were also held at the Marine Base in Ternate, Cavite last Sunday and in Crow Valley, Tarlac on Thursday.

In Bicol, troops from the AFP Southern Luzon Command took the lead in the construction of a health center, two-room classroom building, water catchment system and concreting of sidewalk in Malobago Elementary School, Barangay Malobago and another one-room school building in Doña Mercedes Elementary School, all in Guinobatan, Albay.

The installation of water storage tank and construction of a public rest room also benefited the residents of Barangay Pawa, Legazpi City.

The troops also repaired and renovated parts of Tamaoyan Elementary School in Barangay Tamaoyan, Legazpi City.

Combined Army and Navy troops from AFP and U.S. Armed Forces likewise constructed and renovated school buildings, offered medical and veterinary services, and conducted medical symposia and training in Legazpi City and Guinobatan, both in Albay.

A total of 65 personnel from the AFP and 94 from joint U.S. and multinational forces participated in the events.

The partnership between the AFP and U.S. Armed Forces continue to be healthy, dynamic and beneficial.

It continues to highlight the unswerving commitment of both military forces towards a more secure Asia-Pacific region.

“As we conclude this year’s Balikatan Exercises, we look forward to more joint bilateral military exercises and undertakings that will help the AFP in coping with our ever evolving security environment and achieve our goal of a minimum credible defense system,” Cazcarro said.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.