Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Nightclubs off-limits to US soldiers during Balikatan —source

From GMA News (Apr 9): Nightclubs off-limits to US soldiers during Balikatan —source

The United States military has barred their participants in this year's Balikatan exercises from visiting night clubs and bars.
"(They are) barred from establishments that just sell drinks and night clubs are strictly off limits," a source who is a US military officer said. 
The official who is part of planning the Balikatan exercises said that the US service men are allowed to eat in local restaurants, only when they are walking distance away from their hotels. 
The American participants of the Balikatan must also go back to their quarters not later than 10 p.m. 
The source warned that those who will violate the restrictions will face disciplinary actions. 
"If someone violates this policy during Balikatan, they will be held accountable," the official said. 
The source said that the restrictions are just in adherence to the policy of the United States Pacific Command to limit the liberty of the US service men when they are in the country. 
The policy was issued after US Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton was tagged as the suspect in the murder of the Jeffrey "Jennifer" Laude in October 2014.
The official said the policy is in effect until the Pacific Command finds better ways to protect the US service men from "dangers and threats" while in the Philippines. "Until they find a solution, the current provision is there is no liberty."
Balikatan 2015 is the first major bilateral training between the Philippines after the killing of Laude. It will be held on April 20-31 to be held in various locations including Camp O’Donnell and Crow Valley in Tarlac, Subic Bay, and Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.
At least 6,000 American solders are expected to join the Balikatan. They will bring 76 aircraft and three ships while the Philippines will have 15 aircraft and one ship. 
On top of the usual military exercises, members of the Philippine and US armed forces will also have joint humanitarian assistance projects in Zambales.

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