Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Philippines, Australia conduct maritime patrol training

From Anadolu Agency (Sep 27): Philippines, Australia conduct maritime patrol training

Joint patrol exercise aimed at improving communications between the two navies

Philippines, Australia conduct maritime patrol training

The Philippine and Australian navies wrapped up joint patrol exercises Monday in the Sulu Sea, the site of hijackings and kidnappings by Abu Sayyaf-linked militants.

Rear Admiral Rene Medina, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, said the three days of exercises concluded with passing exercises and communications and electronics exercises between the Del Pilar Class Frigate BRP Ramon Alcaraz and the HMAS Parramatta of the Royal Australian Navy.
The Australian Embassy in the Philippines’ defense attaché, Capt. Bradley Ian White, headed the delegation of the HMAS Parramatta.

Medina said the exercises were designed to strengthen the defense relationship between the two navies through communication while conducting joint maritime patrols in the region.

The exercise between the two navies is embodied in the Code of Unplanned Encounters at Sea - an agreement signed by 21 countries, including the Philippines and Australia - that limits the occurrence of incidents at sea and prevents the escalation of tensions.

Australia, which announced in August that it would provide A$20 million or around PHP800 million worth of assistance for the conflict-torn city of Marawi over the next four years, offered to help train the Philippine military in its fight against Daesh extremists.

The military said it is just a matter of days before the siege of Marawi ends as operations focus on the rescue of the remaining 45-50 hostages held by Maute terrorists.

Army Lt. General Carlito Galvez Jr., chief of the Western Mindanao Command, said the Maute terrorists are now confined to an area that puts them at a disadvantage, "but troops still have to be wary of the improvised explosive devices planted by the enemy".

The fighting in Marawi has left more than 800 dead, including 700 terrorists and over 150 government forces. It has also displaced more than 200,000 residents and thousands more from nearby towns.

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