Key Philippine Military and Insurgency-Related Events
Monday, July 3, 2017
US, Philippines hold joint naval patrol
From the Leicester Post (Jul 2): US, Philippines hold joint naval patrol
PH, US navies hold coordinated anti-piracy patrol in Sulu Sea
The United States Navy and Philippine Navy on Saturday, July 1 completed a coordinated patrol mission in Sulu Sea.
USS Coronado joined the recently completed inaugural US-PH Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama. "These patrols enhance regional peace and stability",Rear Adm Don Gabrielson, commander of US Task Force 73, said. "Our at-sea operations with the Philippine Navy demonstrate our commitment to the alliance and deter piracy and illegal activities".
The embassy added that the patrol enhanced "both navies' ability to respond to piracy and transnational criminal activity at sea". Last month, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines also began joint naval patrols in their region due to threats from extremist groups.
The U.S. and the Philippines continue to work together on a number of initiatives and conduct regular military exchanges through routine participation in bilateral and multilateral exercises such as Balikatan, the Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama, Southeast Asian Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), the Rim of the Pacific exercise (RIMPAC), the Asian Defense Ministers' Meeting (ADMM-Plus), and other bilateral subject matter expert exchanges.
The Philippines conducts regular military exchanges with the US, including the Balikatan, despite earlier threats from President Rodrigo Duterte to end military exercises with the country's long-standing ally.
Manila never completely cut military ties to Washington, however.
The US embassy said the Philippine government requested the joint patrol.
"EDCA is still on", Lorenzana said, as cited by Reuters. Lorenzana added that President Duterte has promised to respect all existing agreements with the US.
The group, which includes factions that have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State movement, has also crossed the sea to Malaysia where they have kidnapped people for ransom.
The Philippines military is now engaged in a lingering offensive on militants linked to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
There are global fears fighters sympathetic to Islamic State will cross maritime borders between Malaysia and Indonesia to join Muslim rebels who seized Marawi City in the southern Philippines five weeks ago.