From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 3, 2019): Participating PH troops told to learn everything in 'Balikatan 2019'
Filipino troops, participating in this year's "Balikatan" exercises, have been urged to learn everything they can from their foreign counterparts.
"In the same note, I also like to address the Filipino soldiers who shall be participating in 'Balikatan' 35-2019. I urge you to maximize and make the most out of this experience and opportunity to acquire knowledge and to apply the learnings into concrete outputs so that we could better perform our duties in serving our people and protecting our state," Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., said on Monday.
Some 4,000 Filipino and 3,500 American troops are taking part in the exercises that began April 1 and winds up on April 12.
The exercise also includes the participation of 50 members of the Australian Defence Force for humanitarian and civic assistance projects and special operations forces training.
In the two-week maneuvers, participating troops will conduct counter-terrorism training, amphibious operations, live-fire training, urban operations training, aviation operations, bilateral planning, subject matter expert exchanges, and humanitarian and civic assistance projects throughout Luzon.
Philippine military assets expected to participate in the maneuvers are the landing dock platform BRP Tarlac (LD-601), the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16), and FA-50 light-fighter trainers.
"All of us understand how threats on security constantly evolve, including the non-traditional security challenges at present. As we have this year's 'Balikatan', we will shoulder the load together to prepare for these scenarios and should a crisis or national disaster occur in the future, we will be ready," Madrigal said.
Meanwhile, seven nations have deployed military personnel to act as observers.
"This year, seven countries are sending their respective delegations. We have Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United Kingdom," the AFP chief added.