Tuesday, April 11, 2023

US to allocate more than $100M in investments at EDCA sites

From CNN Philippines (Apr 12, 2023): US to allocate more than $100M in investments at EDCA sites (By CNN Philippines Staff)


Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 12) — The United States will allocate more than $100 million in infrastructure investments at new and existing Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites by the end of fiscal year 2023.

In a joint media briefing with US and Philippine officials on Wednesday, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III said plans to operationalize the four new EDCA sites in Palawan and Northern Luzon will ensure that the two countries are “even better prepared for future crises."

"We're proud of the investments we are making. By the end of FY (fiscal year) 2023, we expect to have allocated more than $100 million in infrastructure investments at the new and existing EDCA sites," the US official said.

Austin added that the investments will "spur job creations and economic growth in local Philippine communities."

He also said the US has committed to "swiftly finalizing" Philippines-US Bilateral Defense Guidelines which chart the "vision for alliance cooperation across all operational domains, space and cyberspace."

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo and Department of National Defense Officer-in-Charge Carlito Galvez Jr., who were also present in the media briefing, welcomed the US move to support the country through EDCA.

Manalo, however, said on Tuesday that the extent of the use of the four new EDCA sites are still up for discussion.

READ: Joint Statement of the U.S.-Philippines 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue


US, Philippines agree to complete road map for security assistance for next 5-10 years

From Rappler (Apr 12, 2023): US, Philippines agree to complete road map for security assistance for next 5-10 years (By REUTERS)

Experts say the United States sees the Philippines as a potential location for rockets, missiles and artillery systems to counter a Chinese amphibious invasion of Taiwan, which China claims as its own

WASHINGTON, DC, USA – The top defense and diplomatic officials from the United States and Philippines agreed on Tuesday, April 11, to complete a road map in coming months to cover the delivery of US defense assistance to the Philippines over the next five to 10 years.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the long-time allies, which share concerns about an increasingly assertive China, discussed delivery of “priority defense platforms” including radars, drones, military transport aircraft and coastal and air defense systems at a so-called 2+2 meeting in Washington that also involved US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Philippine counterparts.

A joint statement said “adoption of a Security Sector Assistance Roadmap in the coming months will guide shared defense modernization investments and inform the delivery of priority platforms over the next 5 to 10 years.”

Philippine Foreign Minister Enrique Manalo told the same news conference the two sides “redoubled” their commitment to modernizing the Philippines-US alliance in recognition that “our partnership will need to play a stronger role in preserving an international law-based international order.”

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Experts say the United States sees the Philippines as a potential location for rockets, missiles and artillery systems to counter a Chinese amphibious invasion of Taiwan, which China claims as its own.

Austin said that it was “too early” to discuss what assets the United States would like to station at Philippine military bases under a recently expanded Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

Manalo said the EDCA sites were mainly aimed at improving military interoperability, addressing potential humanitarian disasters “and perhaps respond to other types of security challenges,” but did not elaborate.

The Pentagon has not specifically said what the additional sites will be used for, except that work would include airport expansion and training involving naval assets.

Manalo said on Monday Washington and Manila will need to discuss what the U.S. may do with its access to the EDCA sites.

EDCA allows US access to Philippine bases for joint training, pre-positioning of equipment and building of facilities such as runways, fuel storage and military housing, but not a permanent presence.

The joint statement said the United States expects to boost its allocated spending for EDCA sites to over $100 million by the end of 2023, against a previously announced $80 million.

The two sides also agreed to fast track new bilateral defense guidelines.

Southeast Asia expert Greg Poling at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies said such guidelines were aimed at providing strategic direction and to lay out each side’s responsibilities.

“The U.S. and Japan negotiated defense guidelines in 1978 for the Cold War, 1998 focused on North Korea, and 2015 focused on China, whereas the U.S. and Philippines have never done so,” he said.

The Washington meeting came after more than 17,000 Philippine and U.S. soldiers began their largest ever joint military drills on Tuesday, highlighting their shared concern about China, which has rival territorial claims to the Philippines in the disputed South China Sea.

US-Philippines relations have warmed considerably under Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, and the 2+2 meeting underlined that as the first of its kind in seven years. But Manila treads a delicate path with China, the region’s economic powerhouse.

Marcos assured China on Monday that military bases accessible to the US would not be used in offensive action, stressing that the arrangement with Washington was designed to boost his country’s defenses.


3 Visayas Army commanders promoted

From the Visayan Daily Star (Apr 11, 2023): 3 Visayas Army commanders promoted (By GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

Three commanders of key Army units in Visayas, who all belong to the Philippine Military Academy of Class 1991, have been promoted, as approved by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Three of the promoted 33 senior military officers are assigned with the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division with headquarters at Camp Macario Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz.

Promoted to the rank of major general was Brig. Gen. Marion Sison, 3rd Infantry Division commander, while elevated to the rank of brigadier general were Negrense Col. Michael Samson and Col. Orlando Edralin, commanders of the 301st and 303rd Infantry Brigades, respectively.

Aside from Sison, Samson, Edralin, their batchmate, Brig. Gen. Leonardo Peña, was recently designated as the Assistant Division Commander of 3ID.

The 301st Infantry Brigade supervises three Army battalions in Panay Island, while there are three Army battalions being supervised by the 303rd Infantry Brigade in Negros Occidental.

On the other hand, the successor of Peña as 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, who will supervise another three Army battalions in Negros Oriental, has not been known as of this time.


CPP/NPA-North Central Mindanao: CAFGU soldier killed, 3 others wounded in NPA-MisOr counter-raid

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Apr 8, 2023): CAFGU soldier killed, 3 others wounded in NPA-MisOr counter-raid

Malem Mabini
North Central Mindanao Regional Operational Command
New People's Army

April 08, 2023

CAFGU member Noel Ayuma Sagimay was killed and three other soldiers of the 58th Infantry Battalion, PA were wounded in the counter-raid operation mounted by the New People’s Army (NPA)-Misamis Oriental in Sitio Bukbok, Barangau Ili-ilihon, Salay, Misamis Oriental on March 30, 2023 at 9 AM.

The Red fighters were in an active defense mode in the said area due to the active military operation of the 58th IBPA.

On the said day, the NPA monitored the approaching enemy column near their camp hence they boosted their defense. Around 9 am, a Red fighter aimed at the enemy’s advance troop resulting in its sudden death. The Red fighters positioned themselves so they could all fire. The firefight lasted for about 10 minutes.


CPP/NPA-North Central Mindanao: State agents kill civilian in front of wife in Misamis Oriental

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Apr 8, 2023): State agents kill civilian in front of wife in Misamis Oriental

Malem Mabini
North Central Mindanao Regional Operational Command
New People's Army

April 08, 2023

Ricardo Loloy Kabanglas Hilogon, 26 y.o., was brutally killed in front of Diday Hilogon, his wife, by two agents of the 58th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army at his farm in Sitio Tapol, Brgy. Banglay, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental on April 3, 2023, 11 am.

Hilogon was from his farm and when he reached his house while chopping logs, he was suddenly approached by two men armed with .45 pistols. He was then shot in front of his wife Diday Hilogon. Hilogon suffered eight gunshots resulting in his death.

Hilogon was a former NPA member but was already inactive for a long time. He was summoned to a military camp and was forced to surrender. He was also intimidated by a certain Laureto Daaw, an agent of the 58th IB, and was warned that he will be killed if a military encounter will take place in their area.

Residents of the said area and nearby towns suffered the terrorism of the 58th IB elements. The 58th IB warned that they will kill any civilian if a soldier is killed or wounded in an encounter with the NPA. Hilogon’s case is the 5th incident after the 58th IB suffered casualties in the province.


CPP/NPA-West Camarines Sur: Operasyong isnayp sa Lupi, Camarines Sur, matagumpay!

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Apr 9, 2023): Operasyong isnayp sa Lupi, Camarines Sur, matagumpay! (Operation sniper in Lupi, Camarines Sur, successful!)

Michael Robredo
NPA-West Camarines Sur (Norben Gruta Command)
NPA-Camarines Sur (Eduardo Olbara Command)
New People's Army

April 09, 2023

Isang sundalo ang kumpirmadong napatay sa isinagawang operasyong isnayp ng isang tim ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) sa ilalim ng Norben Gruta Command (NGC) sa isang 81st IBPA/CAFGU detachment na nakahimpil sa Barangay Tible Lupi, Camarines Sur.

Isinagawa ang operasyong isnayp sa layong 200 metro noong Marso 30, 2023 ganap na alas-dyes trenta ng umaga. Ligtas naman na nakapagmaniobra ang tim na nagsagawa ng operasyon.

Ang aksyong pamamarusa ay tugon ng NGC sa kahilingan at hinaing ng mamamayan sa saklaw ng nasabing kampo ng mga berdugong militar.

Matatandaan na noong Pebrero 2021 nang itinayo ang nasabing CAFGU detachment. Sa mahigit dalawang taon na pamamalagi ng mga pasista at berdugong AFP at CAFGU sa lugar ay nagdulot ito ng takot at ligalig sa mga taum- baryo at mga karatig nito dahil sa pag-oobliga at sapilitang pagpapatrabaho sa mamamayan katulad ng pagtabas at pagdadala ng mga pangbakod at kapag hindi sumunod ay pinaghihinalaang sumusuporta sa BHB. Natatakot rin ang mga tao na pumunta sa mga sakahan sa bukid kapag naglulunsad ito ng operasyon dahil kapag nakasumpong ng sibilyan na walang I.D ay isinasailalim sa katakot-takot na interogasyon at psywar. Habang nagiging karaniwan na rin sa mga pasista ang pag-iinom ng alak sa sentro habang may mga dalang baril at maging ang panliligaw sa mga kabataang menor de edad sa baryo.

Nananawagan ang NGC-BHB-West Camarines Sur sa lahat ng mga sundalo, pulis at CAFGU na talikuran at ganap na tumiwalag sa maka-dayuhan, kontra- mamamayan, berdugo at mersenaryong oryentasyon ng AFP-PNP-CAFGU. Kayo ang mukha ng pinatitinding terorismo ng rehimeng US-Marcos-Duterte. Kayo ang pananggalang at sandigan ng rehimeng labis na kinapopootan ng sambayanang inaapi at pinagsasamantalahan.

Nagpapasalamat rin ang NGC-BHB sa mamamayan ng West Camarines Sur sa patuloy na suporta at pakikipagkaisa sa kanilang natatangi at tunay na hukbo.


CPP/NPA-Camarines Norte: Bagong tayo na CAFGU detachment, pinaputukan ng isang tim ng ACC-BHB-CN!

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Apr 9, 2023): Bagong tayo na CAFGU detachment, pinaputukan ng isang tim ng ACC-BHB-CN! (New CAFGU detachment, fired upon by a team of ACC-NHB-CN!)

Carlito Cada
NPA-Camarines Norte (Armando Catapia Command)
Bicol Regional Operational Command (Romulo Jallores Command)
New People's Army

April 09, 2023

Isang 9th IBPA/CAFGU detachment na nakabase sa Sitio Cupido Brgy. Malaya bayan ng Labo, Camarines Norte ang matagumpay na pinaputukan ng riple ng isang tim ng yunit ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) sa ilalim ng Armando Catapia Command (ACC).

Isinagawa ang aksyong harass noong Abril 1, 2023 ganap na alas-onse ng gabi. Ayon sa ulat isang sundalo ang kumpirmadong napatay. Samantala, ligtas na nakapagmaniobra ang nagsagawang tim ng BHB.

Ang nasabing CAFGU detachment ay katatayo lamang nitong unang kwarto ng kasalukuyang taon. Ngunit bago pa man ang ganap na pagtatayo ng kampo ay pabalik-balik na ito sa baryo at ginagawang base ang bahayan. Ang mga kampo ng mga pasista at berdugong AFP-PNP at CAFGU sa mga barangay na saklaw ng bayan ng Labo ay nagsisilbing proteksyon sa muling pagpasok ng Mt. Labo Exploration and Development Corporation na sasaklawin ang dating erya ng EL DORE Mining Corporation na dati ng pinarusahan at pinalayas ng ACC-BHB taong 2007 sa mga kaso ng paninira ng kalikasan, pang-aagaw ng kabuhayan at mga paglabag sa karapatang pantao.

Ang aksyong pamamarusa ng ACC-BHB ay tugon sa panawagan at kahilingan ng mamamayan ng Camarines Norte na tutulan at huwag hayaang makapandambong ang dayuhang pagmimina sa buong probinsya.

Nagpapasalamat ang ACC sa mamamayan ng probinsya sa patuloy na pagsuporta at pakikipagkaisa sa BHB bilang kanilang tunay at natatanging hukbo.

Laging handa ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan ng Armando Catapia Command- Camarines Norte na ipagtanggol ang kaligtasan at kabuhayan ng mamamayang api at pinagsasamantalahan sa buong probinsya sa pamamagitan ng kanilang malawak na suporta at pakikipagkaisa.#


CPP/NPA-ST: Parusahan ang AFP-PNP — mga sagad-saring pasista at may utang na dugo sa bayan! Kundenahin ang kawalang katarungan ng DOJ at reaksyunaryong korte!

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Apr 9, 2023): Parusahan ang AFP-PNP — mga sagad-saring pasista at may utang na dugo sa bayan! Kundenahin ang kawalang katarungan ng DOJ at reaksyunaryong korte! (Punish the AFP-PNP — assorted fascists who owe blood to the people! Condemn the injustice of the DOJ and reactionary courts!)

Armando Cienfuego
Southern Tagalog Regional Operational Command (Melito Glor Command)
New People's Army

April 09, 2023

Inaatasan ng Melito Glor Command-NPA Southern Tagalog ang mga yunit ng NPA sa ilalim nito na parusahan ang mga sagadsaring berdugong AFP-PNP sa mga krimen nito sa mamamayan. Napapanahon ito ngayong lansakan ang pagkakait ng hustisya para sa mga biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang tao at kanilang mga kaanak sa pamamagitan ng Department of Justice (DOJ).

Lantaran ang impyunidad ng teroristang estado, pinakahuli ang pag-abswelto ng DOJ sa 17 pulis sa kasong double murder sa pagpaslang sa mag-asawang Ariel at Ana Mariz “Chai” Lemita Evangelista ng Ugnayan ng Mamamayan Laban sa Pagwawasak ng Kalikasan (UMALPAS-KA) sa Batangas. Bahagi ito ng Bloody Sunday massacre noong Marso 7, 2021 na nagresulta sa siyam na kaso ng pamamaslang at iligal na pagdakip ng anim na iba pang aktibista sa rehiyon alinsunod sa police at military operations na COPLAN ASVAL sa Calabarzon. Bago ito, noong Enero, inabswelto rin ng DOJ ang mga pulis na pumaslang kay Emmanuel “Manny” Asuncion ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Cavite.

Matatandaang ganito rin ang ibinigay na espesyal na pagturing sa mga heneral at salarin sa pamamaslang at iba pang paglabag sa karapatang tao kagaya ni Gen. Jovito Palparan na nanalasa sa rehiyon. Sa kabila ng pagkakahatol na “maysala” kay Palparan, isinailalim siya sa kustodiya ng kanyang mga kabaro. Ganito rin ang ginawa ng gubyernong Marcos-Duterte sa mamamatay-taong si Gen. Jesus Dureza na pumaslang sa negosyanteng si Yvonette Chua Plaza, rebolusyonaryong si Menandro “Ka Bok” Villanueva, aktibistang Chad Booc at kanyang mga kasama.

Binaliktad ng reaksyunaryong korte ang ebidensya para iabswelto ang mga mamamatay-taong pulis. Pinalabas na hindi tumugma ang mga baril na ginamit sa pagpatay sa mag-asawang Chai at Ariel habang sa kaso naman ni Manny ay ibinasura ang testimonya ni Liezel, asawa at saksi sa pagkamatay ng biktima. Kung gayon, sino ang pumatay sa mga biktima?

Hindi maloloko ang sambayanan sa pambabaluktot at mga kasinungalingan ng teroristang estado. Pinatunayan ng mga insidente na tagibang ang reaksyunaryong hustisya at wala sa panig ng mamamayan. Pangitang ginagawa ng estado ang lahat ng pamamaraan upang pagtakpan at ipagtanggol ang mga salarin sa mga karumaldumal na krimen ng berdugong AFP-PNP at naghaharing uri. Tahasang ginagamit ng estado ang mga berdugong AFP-PNP na pumatay ng mga sibilyan, lalo yaong sa hanay ng nakikibakang mamamayan.

Nararapat na papanagutin ang mga pulis na sangkot sa Bloody Sunday massacre lalong lalo na ang mga matataas na upisyal militar na mastermind ng pamamaslang. Kabilang dito sina General Felipe Natividad, General Debold Sinas, Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. at iba pang mga utak ng pamamaslang. Higit sa lahat, si Rodrigo Roa Duterte na isang sagad-saring pasistang nag-utos sa kanyang mga heneral nagawin ang walang pakundangang pamamaslang.

Maaasahan ng mamamayang Pilipino ang NPA, ang mga organo ng demokratikong kapangyarihan ng mamamayan at ang buong rebolusyonaryong kilusan na igagawad nito ang rebolusyonaryong hustisya para sa mga biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang tao. Aabutin ng mahabang kamay ng rebolusyonaryong hustisya ang lahat ng mga sagadsarin, berdugo at may utang na dugo sa bayan.

Maglulunsad ang MGC-NPA ST ng mga taktikal na opensiba upang parusahan ang mga pinakasagad-saring kaaway ng sambayanang Pilipino.###


CPP/NDF-ST: 3 magsasaka sa Batangas, palayain! Papanagutin ang kriminal na 59th IBPA

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Apr 9, 2023): 3 magsasaka sa Batangas, palayain! Papanagutin ang kriminal na 59th IBPA (3 farmers in Batangas, freed! The criminal 59th IBPA will be held accountable)

Patnubay de Guia
NDF-Southern Tagalog
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

April 09, 2023

Mariing kinukundina ng NDFP-ST ang pagdukot ng 59th IBPA sa tatlong magsasaka noong Marso 26 sa Balayan, Batangas. Paglabag sa internasyunal na makataong batas at maging sa due process ng reaksyunaryong batas ang pagdukot at iligal na pagpiit sa mga biktima nang walang kaukulang nakasampang kaso laban sa kanila. Dapat silang agad na palayain ng mga militar.

Ang mga biktima ay nakilala bilang mga magsasakang kasapi ng samahang Sugarfolks Unity for Genuine Agricultural Reform (SUGAR) na sina Alfredo Manalo at Lloyd Descallar at tubero na si Angelito Balitostos. Huling nakita sina Manalo at Descallar sa labas ng Medical Center-Western Batangas sa Balayan bago dinukot ng mga militar bandang alas-4 ng hapon. Idinamay si Balitostos, residente ng Brgy. Lanatan dahil nasaksihan niya ang pagdukot.

Pasakit ang sinapit ng mga biktima at kanilang kapamilya sa kamay ng militar. Ilang araw silang iligal na idinetine bago inilitaw noong Abril 5. Napilitan ang 59th IBPA na amining hawak nila ang tatlo matapos na ilang ulit na kalampagin ng mga kaanak at grupong nagtatanggol sa karapatang tao ang mga kinauukulan.

Kasuklam-suklam ang pilit na pagtatakip ng 59th IBPA sa kanilang krimen. Nagkakabuhol-buhol ang dila ng 59th IBPA sa pagpapalusot upang bigyang katwiran ang ginawa nilang pagdukot. Naglubid pa ng kwento ang 59th IBPA na diumano’y kusang sumama sa kanila ang tatlong biktima. Sapilitang pinapirma ng mga militar ang mga biktima sa harap ng isang abogado para pagtakpan ang kanilang krimen. Subalit nabisto ang kanilang kasinungalingan dahil nagpa-blotter ang pamilya ng mga biktima sa PNP Balayan tungkol sa nangyari sa kanilang mga kaanak.

Naganap ang atake ng 59th IBPA sa gitna ng umiigting na kampanya ng mga samahang magsasaka laban sa pagsasara ng Central Azucarera de Don Pedro Inc. (CADPI), isa sa pinakamalaking ilohan ng tubo sa Luzon. Bago ang insidente, iniulat ng mga magsasakang nagpoprotesta ang serye ng panghaharas at pang-aatake ng AFP-PNP sa kanilang hanay. Ni-red-tag ng mga ito ang mga samahang magsasaka kabilang ang SUGAR upang gawing target ng panunupil at pandarahas sa bisa ng Anti-Terror Law.

Samantala, makatwiran ang pakikibaka ng mga magtutubo sa Batangas para sa karapatan sa kabuhayan. Sinusuportahan ng NDFP-ST ang laban ng mga magsasaka sa paghahangad ng kompensasyon at suporta ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno nang magsara ang CADPI.

Kailangang patuloy na magbigkis ang mamamayan ng Timog Katagalugan para singilin at papanagutin ang 59th IBPA. Dapat papanagutin ang 59th IBPA sa kanilang krimen at paglabag sa internasyunal na makataong batas at mga karapatang sibil at demokratiko ng mamamayan. Bukod sa pagdukot sa tatlong sibilyan, kabilang din sa duguang rekord ng 59th IBPA ang pagpatay sa 9-taong batang si Kyllene Casao at magsasakang si Maximino Digno na may kapansanan sa pag-iisip sa proseso ng mga operasyong militar nito noong Hulyo 2021.

Pinatunayan ng 59th IBPA at buong AFP-PNP na sila’y mga kriminal at terorista na kinamumuhian ng sambayanan. Sila ang bayarang goons ng naghaharing uri na naghahangad na supilin ang lehitimong paglaban ng bayan. Nararapat na pag-ibayuhin ng mamamayan ang kanilang pakikibaka sa landas ng pambansa-demokratikong rebolusyon at sumalig sa CPP-NPA-NDFP bilang kanilang sandata laban sa teroristang estado.###


CPP/NPA-Northern Negros: On the recent armed clash in Toboso

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Apr 10, 2023): On the recent armed clash in Toboso

Cecil Estrella
NPA-Northern Negros (Roselyn Pelle Command)
Negros Island Regional Operational Command (Apolinario Gatmaitan Command)
New People's Army

April 10, 2023

Asmall armed unit of Roselyn Jean Pelle Command – Northern Negros Guerilla Front of the New People’s Army (RJPC-NPA) came in armed contact with 79IB’s Bravo Company of the AFP on April 6, 2023 at around 3:47 PM in Sitio Serahe, Barangay San Isidro, Toboso, Negros Occidental resulting in at least three (3) enemy KIA and several more WIA. NPA fighters safely withdrawn from the encounter site after two (2) minutes of armed exchange, with no casualties or even slight injuries.

NPA’s counter-offensive action was a result of AFP’s massive military campaign in northern Negros. Despite observance of Holy Week, 79IB deployed at least three (3) columns in Sitio Serahe alone putting the NPA unit nearby in active defense posture. The said NPA unit tried to evade an armed clash but a golden opportunity arise from 79IB’s deployment of troops.

To cover up AFP’s defeat, 79IB spewed lies on the recent armed clash:
1. #DiMasaligan79IB said that they were conducting operations after civilians reported NPA presence in the area. Should that be true, the operating enemy troops should be on full alert. Actual armed combat happened when 79IB was at rest and caught off guard by the NPA unit positioned less than 100 meters away.

2. #DiMasaligan79IB stated to have recovered home-made shotguns and ammunitions from the encounter site. Previous NPA actions in the area reported to have recovered empty shells of high-powered automatic rifles. In that armed encounter alone, 79IB should expose the shells used to determine NPA armory.

3. #DiMasaligan79IB exposed that their only casualty was one (1) slightly wounded who is now in stable condition. With a slight wound, enemy troops could have brought the casualty to nearest healthcare facility, be it in Toboso Health Center, Calatrava District Hospital, Sagay District Hospital and not to Bacolod City for immediate medical care. That lie alone is an outright downplaying of the sacrifice made by their own troops.

4. #DiMasaligan79IB announced that NPA has three (3) WIA. With alleged blood stains in withdrawal route as only evidence, enemy troops immediately publicized the exact number of NPA casualty. How come they haven’t figured out scores of NPA casualty in other areas? It’s a laughable AFP act to have always seen blood stains when in reality they have not inflicted casualty to Red fighters.

Lt. Col. J-jay Javinez of 79IB, BGen. Orlando Edralin of 303Bde and the AFP in general, unmask its dire desperation to crush the NPA in northern Negros that they spread laughingstocks claims.

With the latest experience of NPA’s counter-offensive action, RJPC-NPA is optimistic on the course of armed revolution in northern Negros. It is ever more determined to stir and spread the flames of armed revolution. ###


CPP/NPA-Central Negros: Masupog nga Kawatan Ginsilotan sang NPA

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Apr 11, 2023): Masupog nga Kawatan Ginsilotan sang NPA (The NPA Punishes Thieves)

JB Regalado
NPA-Central Negros (Leonardo Panaligan Command)
Negros Island Regional Operational Command (Apolinario Gatmaitan Command)
New People's Army

April 11, 2023

Sandig sa mando sang Rebolusyonaryong Korte sang Pumuluyo, ginpatuman sang NPA ang silot-kamatayon kay Danilo De Baja sa sityo Banat-e, Barangay Macagahay, Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental.

Tuig 2016 “destiero” ukon pagpalayas ang pagpamatbat sang Korte sang Pumuluyo kay De Baja matapos ang proseso sang pagpa-andam. Si Danilo ang ginareklamo sang kadam-an nga pumuluyo sa lugar sa pagpangawat sang mga de kantidad nga kasapatan sang pumuluyo kaangay sang karabaw kag baka kag iban pa. Gapang-agaw man sang mga ulumhan sang kaangay sini nga mangunguma. Nagahupot sang illegal nga armas nga ginagamit sa pagpahug sa iya nga mga biktima.

Tuig 2017 nagtuman sa paggwa sa lugar si De Baja kag nagbalik matapos ang pila ka tuig apang wala pa naabot ang gintalana nga panahon. Samtang ara na siya sa lugar padayon gihapon ang iya mga kontra-pumuluyo nga lihok. Liwat nga gin-istorya sang NPA apang pabilin sa pagpangawat, pagpamahug, pagpalupok sang armas kag pagpang-agaw sang pangabuhian sa pareho sini nga mangunguma. Wala nagbag-o si De Baja kag labi pa nga nagsupog sa iya mga kinaandan nga gawi tubtob karun nga tuig 2023.

Liwat nagapanawagan ang NPA sa tanan nga may salabton sa rebolusyonaryong kahublagan. Magpalapit sa pila ka yunit sang CPP-NPA sa inyo lugar kag tampad nga sabton ang kaso nga inyo nakomiter. Determinado ang NPA nga magpatuman sang nagakaigo nga pagsilot sandig sa inyo ginkomiter batok sa pumuluyo kag bug-os nga rebolusyonaryong kahublagan.


CPP/Ilocos-Cordillera ROC: Overcome hurdles and advance the people’s war

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (Apr 11, 2023): Overcome hurdles and advance the people’s war

Martin Montana
Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Operational Command (Chadli Molintas Command)
New People's Army

April 11, 2023

The Chadli Molintas Command (NPA – Ilocos-Cordillera Region) salutes the Red commanders and fighters of the New People’s Army, the genuine army of the Filipino people, on the occasion of its 54th anniversary.

With the Party, all revolutionary forces and the Filipino people, we also give highest tribute to the thousands of heroes and martyrs of the people’s army and the people’s armed revolution.

In the Ilocos-Cordillera region, we pay tribute to Mando ‘Ka Demsen’ Eduarte, Onal Osias ‘Ka Paot’ Balaoing and Gonzalo ‘Ka IB’ Battawang, Igorot peasants who left a life of oppression to commit their whole lives in service to the Filipino people.

In the spirit of their ultimate sacrifices and amidst the intensifying oppression and exploitation of the Filipino people under the US-Marcos Jr regime, we are confident that more shall rise from the ranks of the peasants, laborers, national minorities and other oppressed masses to join the NPA.

In the light of the worsening socio-economic crisis and the unrelenting fascist attacks of the US-Marcos Jr. regime, the bases for waging the people’s democratic revolution persist.

In the region, peasants continue to suffer from all forms of intensifying feudal and semi-feudal exploitation in the hands of landlords and big business. Farmgate prices of their products remain pegged at very low rates while cost of production has almost doubled or tripled due to unhampered rise in the prices of gasoline and agricultural inputs. Their ancestral and agricultural lands are endlessly threatened by plunderous multinational, transnational and local companies in energy, mining and agribusiness. The people have registered their strong opposition to large dam projects such as the Gened dams in Kabugao, Apayao and the Saltan River dams in Balbalan and Pinukpok, Kalinga that shall wreak havoc on their lands, lives and livelihood.

To stifle the peasants’ anti-feudal struggles and the defense of their lands, and in subservience to imperialist companies and the local ruling class of landlords and comprador big bourgeoisie, the AFP-PNP incessantly intensified its attacks on the people, sowing fear and terror in the communities of peasants, workers, miners and national minorities.

Human rights violations have been widespread and evident wherever the troops of AFP-PNP are. Aerial bombings and straffings, indiscriminate firing, attempted murders and massacres, harassment and intimidation of civilians and encampment of military and police elements within communities have been rampant, especially in areas where people firmly uphold their struggle for their rights. All these have been legitimized by the deceptive and brutal RCSP (Retooled Community Support Program), the corruption laden BDP (Barangay Development Plan) and the fascist NTF-ELCAC.

Indeed, the situation remains a fertile ground for the overall advancement of the national democratic revolution. Under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the NPA and all revolutionary forces shall remain steadfast in their commitment to the just path of the armed struggle.

While the AFP-PNP holds on to its pipe dream of putting out the flame of the people’s revolutionary fervor, the NPA shall remain firm and forward-looking in the execution of its tasks as the genuine army of the Filipino people: building the foundation of the people’s democratic government in the countryside, advancing the agrarian revolution and sustaining the progress of the armed struggle. Drawing rich lessons from launching guerilla warfare amidst the continuous focused military operation of the AFP-PNP in recent years, they are more than ever determined to overcome hurdles and difficulties, and persevere to contribute to the advancement of the people’s war to a higher stage.

The sacrifices of our revolutionary martyrs shall not be in vain, as more and more from the masses shall stir up the flames of the people’s war.

Together with all revolutionary forces in the Ilocos-Cordillera region and across the archipelago, the CMC enjoins the best sons and daughters of the nation to keep the fire of revolution burning in the best way possible: by joining the NPA and committing a lifetime of service for the freedom of the Filipino people.

Persevere in advancing the people’s war to the next higher stage!
Long live the CPP!
Long live the NPA!
Long live the Filipino people!


What are the AFP, US military using at Balikatan 2023?

 From the Philippine Star (Apr 11, 2023): What are the AFP, US military using at Balikatan 2023?

This handout photo from the Philippine Air Force shows the A-29B 'Super Tucano' turboprop airplane.
Philippine Air Force

MANILA, Philippines — The annual Balikatan military exercises formally opened Tuesday and will feature include training on maritime security, amphibious, urban and aviation operations.

Participating troops will also practice counterterrorism and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

Manalo: Beyond war games, Balikatan to hone disaster response cooperation

Philippines, US kick off largest-ever joint military drills

The activities will be in areas of Ilocos Norte, Aurora, Zambales, Palawan and Antique. More than 17,000 troops from the US, Philippines, and Australia will participate in Balikatan.

According to an information sheet given to media, equipment that will be used in the training exercises include the following:

Armed Forces of the Philippines

Autonomous Truck Mounted Howitzer System (ATMOS 2000)

Handout photo, Philippine Army

Described as a "game changer" by the Philippine Army, the Autonomous Truck Mounted Howitzer System (ATMOS) 155 mm/52 caliber self-propelled artillery pieces were acquired from Israeli firm Elbit Systems in 2021.

A-29B Super Tucano

Handout photo, Philippine Air Force

The Philippine Air Force operates the Embraer A-29B "Super Tucano" attack aircraft, which began arriving in the Philippines in September 2020. The aircraft are meant for use in light attack, counter-insurgency, close air support, aerial reconnaissance missions and pilot training, according to state-run Philippine Information Agency.

T-129 ATAK helicopters

Handout photo, Philippine Air Force

The Philippine Air Force received the T-129 ATAK helicopters from Turkey in March 2022. Assigned to the 15th Strike Wing, the ATAKs are comparable to the AH-1S Cobra, according to the PAF, which described the helicopters as "another game changer in support to the numerous missions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines."

'Fast Frigate Patrol Ships'

Handout photo, Philippine Navy

BRP Jose Rizal is the lead ship of her class of frigates, which were acquired from Hyundai Heavy Inudstries in South Korea. She and her sister ship BRP Antonio Luna are missile capable and are meant for multi-role operations, including coastal patrol and anti-submarine warfare.

'Landing Dock'

File photo shows the landing platform dock BRP Davao del Sur arriving in Manila. Aside from the Navy ship, chartered cruise ships are being considered to help evacuate OFWs if armed hostilities escalate in the Middle East. Miguel De Guzman

The Philippine Navy has two landing platform docks, BRP Tarlac and BRP Davao del Sur. Meant to support military as well as disaster response operations, the ships have a maximum carrying capacity of 11,583 tons and can last at sea for 30 days.

US Air Force

US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to 13th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Wing conduct pre-flight checks prior to a bilateral air defense training mission during exercise Balikatan 22 at Basa Air Base, Philippines, April 1, 2022. US Marine Corps photo by Gunnery Sgt. Steve Cushman

Among the USAF equipment in use for Balikatan are the F-16 Fighting Falcon, KC-130J Super Herculese and KC-135 Stratotanker.

US Marine Corps

In this 2017 file photo, a V22 Osprey touches down in Casiguran, Aurora during a simulated disaster response operation for the Balikatan exercises

USMC assets include the MV-22 Osprey, UH-1Y Venom, AH-1Z Viper, UH-53 Super Stallion, Joint Tactical Light Vehicle and F-35 Lightning II.

US Army

In this file photo taken on March 06, 2022, US military personnel stand by a M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) during Saudi Arabia’s first World Defense Show, north of the capital Riyadh. AFP / Fayez Nureldine, file

US Army assets include the AH-64 Apache, HH-60 MEDEVAC Blackhawk, UH-60 Blackhawk, CH-47 Chinooks, water crafts, rocket launcher and Patriot and Avenger Battery Systems

US Navy

In this April 5, 219 photo, the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) maneuvers alongside the Philippine Navy offshore patrol vessel BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS 16) in support of Exercise Balikatan 2019. US Navy / Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker, file

Among the US Navy equipment that will be used in the military exercises are the Landing Helicopter Dock, Landing Platform Dock, Expeditionary Sea Base, MH-60S Seahawk and P-8A Poseidon. — from a report by Kaycee Valmonte


'EDCA key pillar of US, PH alliance'

From the Manila Times (Apr 12, 2023): 'EDCA key pillar of US, PH alliance' (By Bernadette E. Tamayo)

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Shoulder to shoulder Philippine and US officials link arms to signify the start of the biggest Balikatan on Tuesday, April 11. From left to right are Major General Marvin Licudine; Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff General Andres Centino; US Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires Heather Variava; AFP Deputy Chief of Staff Brigadier General Noel Beltran and USMC, Commanding General, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Major General Eric Austin. Photo By Mike De Juan

FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) is a "key pillar" of the alliance between the Philippines and the United States as they aim to "reforge" their relations in a high-level dialogue this week.

Manalo made the remark on Monday in Washington, D.C., during a forum organized by the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) ahead of the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue between top foreign affairs and defense officials of both countries.

Manalo and Defense department Officer in Charge Carlito Galvez Jr. will hold the dialogue with their US counterparts, State Secretary Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd James Austin.

He noted that last week the Philippines identified four new locations to "house" US troops and equipment under the EDCA.

These are in Cagayan's Naval Base Camilo Osias and Lal-lo Airport; Camp Melchor F. Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela; and Balabac Island in Palawan.

The Philippines and the US, according to Manalo, are conducting this month "the biggest joint [Balikatan or shoulder-to-shoulder] exercises in EDCA history" with over 17,600 Filipino and American troops and observers from Japan and Australia.

"The EDCA is a key pillar of our alliance, and the Balikatan exercises, for the first time, build on our interoperability in the context of external defense," Manalo said in a speech.

He noted that the 2+2 Dialogue will resume on Tuesday (Washington time) after a seven-year hiatus.

"This highlights the positive trajectory of our bilateral relations, which is happening now at all levels, and the shared intention of Manila and Washington to sustain this momentum," Manalo said.

"This reforging of our alliance is taking place on the heels of the 75th anniversary of our formal diplomatic relations and the 70th year of the conclusion of the Mutual Defense Treaty," he added.

Manalo said, "We've only begun to underline that beyond aiding the modernization of military facilities, the EDCA sites support the local economies and present new interfaces for socioeconomic projects involving the national and host local governments."

He, however, declined to provide more information when asked whether US weaponry such as artillery and missile systems will be allowed on EDCA sites for possible defense of Taiwan against Chinese invasion.

"I think at this stage we basically identified the sites. There will have to be, as in the case of the other sites, discussions on terms of reference, the type of activities, and I think these all have to be agreed on," Manalo said.

"So, at this stage it's really very difficult to respond to questions like that. It will all depend on how discussions go on the type of activities and the terms of reference of those activities within any of those sites," he added.

Gregory Poling, CSIS Southeast Asia Program and Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative director, said the US and Philippines "have been engaged in a once-in-a-generation effort to update and modernize the alliance since 2021."

The allies, he added, have also set up a new maritime security dialogue, substantially increased US financial support for Philippine military modernization, boosted the size and ambition of joint exercises and trainings, deepened trilateral cooperation with the Japanese and Australians, and are undertaking negotiations on new defense guidelines and a military information sharing agreement.

"These are the bones of a modern and more equal alliance. A similar set of institutions were built into the US-Japan alliance over about a decade from the mid-1990s to mid-2000s," Poling said.

He added that the US and the Philippines are trying to do it in about two years.

"That speaks to the urgency and sense of threat that both sides feel from China," Poling said.

"Beijing's bad behavior has made this possible. By continuing to harass and bully Filipinos at sea during the previous presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, in spite of his outreach to Beijing, China strengthened a strategic consensus in Manila that it is a threat that must be deterred, making the US alliance more vital than ever," he added.


US soldiers resume parachute diving in Batanes

From the Manila Times (Apr 12, 2023): US soldiers resume parachute diving in Batanes (By Vince Jacob Visaya)

Latest Stories
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TUGUEGARAO CITY: Hoping to further rekindle the camaraderie with Filipinos, the soldiers of the United States of America resumed their "quick parachute diving" off the island province of Batanes on Tuesday.

The soldiers earlier arrived via a United States-owned Osprey helicopter which landed at Basco Airport in Basco, Batanes on Monday afternoon, April 10.

Batanes Gov. Marilou Cayco, however, clarified in a statement that the soldiers arrived for a "quick parachute diving practice within the island-province area" and not for anything else.

The practice is a part of the ongoing Balikatan Exercises between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States of America that are initiated annually by the two countries.

"We would like to clarify that these have nothing to do with the ongoing tension between China and Taiwan," she said. "Let's not spread any false information that gives fear to our countrymen," the governor added.


2 students arrested as protests hound first day of Balikatan

From CNN Philippines (Apr 11, 2023): 2 students arrested as protests hound first day of Balikatan (By CNN Philippines Staff)


Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 11) — Two youth activists were arrested on Tuesday while joining one of the protests against the military drills between Filipino and American troops.

According to police, groups began staging their protests against the Balikatan exercises in front of the United States Embassy in Manila at 4:50 a.m.

Manila Police District PIO Chief PMaj. Philipp Ines said a 22-year-old student from the University of the Philippines and a 24-year-old student from Far Eastern University were apprehended for vandalism and resisting arrest.

"Kung naging maayos lang sana sila at hindi ni pinagbabato ng pintura ang US embassy hindi sana mangyayari ang pagkaka-aresto sa dalawang estudyante," Ines told CNN Philippines.

[Translation: If they behaved properly and had not thrown paint at the US embassy, the two students would not have been arrested.]

Youth groups, including the Kabataan Party-list, criticized the arrest. Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel argued that a video showed the two students did not resist arrest, and there was allegedly a use if force in how they were arrested.

"Tayo din ay naniniwala na ang kanilang actions, yung kanilang pagsali sa protesta ay hindi naman ituturing na isang krimen [We also believe that their actions, their participation in the protest are not considered a crime]," Manuel said.

The League of Filipino Students also denounced the arrest, saying their actions were peaceful.

The UP College of Mass Communication also defended one of its students, and called on authorities to immediately release the activists.

Protests against the joint drills have also reached the US, as over 60 Filipinos and members of anti-war organizations rallied in Times Square in New York City.

"Rather than protect the livelihoods and land of Filipinos, the US military aims to encircle and intimidate China and reinforce US hegemony in the Asia Pacific," said Nina Macapinlac, Secretary General of BAYAN USA.

Fishers at risk

The Philippines and the United States formally opened the largest-ever Balikatan on Tuesday, with over 17,500 troops participating.

Groups sounded the alarm on how the military exercises will affect the livelihood of farmers and fisherfolk.

In a statement, GABRIELA Secretary-General Clarice Palce said there are reportedly live-fire exercises (LFX) across the country, including Nueva Ecija.

"The residents, many of whom are farmers, are afraid to leave their homes, and the LFXs have been a source of concern for people's mobility and their ability to safely seek their livelihoods," Place added.

However, Palawan 2nd District Rep. Jose Alvarez said this "inconvenience is temporary."

Asked if the Balikatan have an impact on livelihoods of fishers in Palawan communities, Alvarez said, "That is true, if there is live firing at sea. But before this live firing at sea of course there is enough warning to the fishermen and this is not done at night. This is done during the day."

"The inconvenience is temporary, if you ask me," Alvarez told CNN Philippines' The Final Word."


PH, US troops train in first Balikatan salvo

From the Manila Times (Apr 12, 2023): PH, US troops train in first Balikatan salvo (By Franco Jose C. Baroña)

Philippines and US soldiers salute in front of their national flags while their national anthems are played during the opening ceremony of the 'Balikatan' joint military exercise at the military headquarters in Quezon City, suburban Manila on April 11, 2023. Ted ALJIBE / AFP

THE Philippines and the United States formally opened the biggest iteration of the Balikatan (shoulder to shoulder) exercises on Tuesday at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) general headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. The opening salvo was held in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija where Filipino and American soldiers trained side by side in knock-out bunker and room clearing operations.

With over 17,500 combined troops from the AFP and the US Indo-Pacific Command, the 38th edition of the annual joint military drills will highlight four major events: command post exercise, cyber defense exercise, field training exercise and humanitarian civic assistance.

Present at the opening ceremony were US Chargé d'Affaires Heather Variava, representing the US Ambassador to the Philippines Marykay Loss Carlson; AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Andres Centino; US Exercise Director Representative Maj. Gen. Eric Austin of the US Marine Corps; and Philippine Exercise Director Maj. Gen. Marvin Licudine of the Philippine Army.

In his remarks, Centino said for the AFP in particular, this year's Balikatan exercises are "most timely" as the Philippine military fast-tracks the enhancement of its capabilities for maritime security and domain awareness, as well as the employment concept of newly acquired equipment and weapon systems under its modernization program and application of newly developed doctrines "with the end-in-view of projecting a credible defense posture."

Variava, on the other hand, said this year's joint military activities will be the biggest ever, "an indication of the growth of our alliance and how it continues to evolve to meet our shared goals."

On the 38th iteration of the Balikatan, the participating forces will enhance their joint and combined capabilities in maritime security, amphibious operations, live-fire exercise, urban operations, aviation operations, counterterrorism, and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

Austin said Balikatan signifies a more robust security relationship between the Philippines and the US, which are longtime allies.

"Balikatan is an important opportunity to train shoulder to shoulder, and build trust and confidence that enable our forces to respond to crises and contingencies as a team," he added.

Licudine cited the importance of the Balikatan to both forces.

"It builds interoperability, enhances capabilities and demonstrates mutual defense of the Philippine sovereign territory," he said.

Balikatan is said to remain as one of the best training opportunities to improve both countries' military arms.

Centino urged the participants to embody professionalism, excellence and the spirit of camaraderie.

"I am confident that both our Armed Forces shall reap invaluable benefits from these Balikatan exercises as we continue to pursue our shared goals of regional peace, security and stability," he said.

Australia will also participate in some events, and officials from Japan are expected to observe some.

Furthermore, different assets and weapon systems will be utilized for various activities.

Balikatan 2023 will be held in several areas including Calayan Island, Palawan and Zambales province from April 11 to 28.

The Philippines and the United States will deploy complex weapons systems, including a Patriot missile battery and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems.


Balikatan 38-23 military exercise kicks off in WV

From the Visayan Daily Star (Apr 12, 2023): Balikatan 38-23 military exercise kicks off in WV (By GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

Philippine Army and United States Armed Forces soldiers join the CBRN training at Camp Macario Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz.* 3ID photo

Army soldiers stationed in Western Visayas participated in a 5 day Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear (CBRN) training at Camp Macario Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz, which started on April 10, as part of the joint Philippines United States Balikatan 38-23 joint military exercise.

Lt. Col. Vicel Jan Garsuta, officer in charge of the 3ID Public Affairs Office, said that the CBRN training program is designed to enhance the capabilities of the Philippine military and its allied forces in responding to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats, with training program to include classroom lectures, hands-on exercises, and simulations.

Garsuta added that Balikatan exercises this year will focus on enhancing the interoperability and readiness of the Philippine and US armed forces in responding to a wide range of security challenges.

The CBRN training program is among the many activities expected to take place during the Balikatan 38-23 joint military exercise. Other activities include humanitarian and civic assistance projects, joint combat training exercises, and cultural exchange programs.

In a statement, Maj. Gen. Marion Sison, 3ID commander, said he believes that the CBRN training program is a crucial part of the Balikatan 38-23 joint military exercise, which aims to improve the interoperability and readiness of the Philippine and US armed forces in responding to various threats and disasters, including natural calamities and terrorist attacks.

“We are confident that this CBRN training program will enhance the capabilities of our military and allied forces to respond better and allows us to learn from each other, share best practices, and strengthen our readiness to respond to CBRN-related incidents.” Sison added.

He further said that the Balikatan 38-23 joint military exercise is a testament to the strong partnership and friendship between the Philippines and the United States, and an opportunity for the two countries to work together toward promoting peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Balikatan is the most prominent large-scale exercise between the Philippine and American militaries to enhance their cooperation and interoperability under the Visiting Forces Agreement signed by the two countries in 1998.


Philippines, US Launch Largest-Ever Joint War Games

Posted to the Eurasia Review (Apr 12, 2023): Philippines, US Launch Largest-Ever Joint War Games (By Camille Elemia-BenarNews)

Demonstrators shout slogans and burn an American flag as they protest against the Balikatan joint military exercises, outside the headquarters of the Philippine military in Quezon City, Philippines, April 11, 2023. Phot Credit: Gerard Carreon/BenarNews

Treaty allies the United States and the Philippines kicked off their biggest-ever annual joint military exercises on Tuesday, amid growing regional tensions between the U.S. and China over Taiwan and anti-American protests by Filipinos.

The Balikatan Exercise 2023 brings together 17,680 troops – an estimated 12,000 Americans, 5,000 Filipinos, and more than 100 Australians – who will participate in live-fire drills and other activities until April 28. The drills aim to boost bilateral readiness for cyber-defense operations and maritime security, officials said.

“Balikatan,” which means “shoulder to shoulder” in Tagalog, got underway a day after Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sought to allay public fears that a beefed up American military presence here would unnecessarily draw the Southeast Asian country into a conflict in case China attacked Taiwan.

Gen. Andres Centino, the Philippine military’s chief of staff, said the drills would not only bolster bilateral ties but “contribute to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region in a definitive manner.”

Among the drills on the program are a command post exercise, cyber-defense exercise, field training exercise, and humanitarian civic assistance activities.

“All these major events are intended to ensure the achievement of the end state of our Balikatan 2023 exercises, which is to fully develop mutual defense capabilities to enhance cyber defense operation and strengthen the country’s maritime security and domain awareness,” Centino said in a speech Tuesday inaugurating the drills.

A bilateral command post exercise aims to strengthen the allies’ ability to plan, coordinate, and provide command-and- control of forces against a range of scenarios and simulated challenges. It also trains both militaries to refine tactics and procedures related to maritime security.

And during this year’s Balikatan, participants for the first time will carry out a live-fire training with Patriot missiles and Avengers air-defense systems, which Ukraine has used against invading Russian forces.

During the live-fire exercise at sea, Filipino and American troops will target and sink a 200-foot-long mock enemy vessel in the waters off Zambales province facing the West Philippine Sea, the part of the South China Sea that lies within Manila’s exclusive economic zone. Beijing and Manila, as well as other Southeast Asian countries and Taiwan, have overlapping claims in the strategic waterway.

Another new component of the war games is cyber defense.

“The cyber domain is very important because a lot of our subsystems in command-and-control, and intelligence all rely on the cyber domain,” said Col. Mike Logico, a Filipino officer and spokesman for Balikatan 2023.

Heather Variava, the chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, said Balikatan symbolized “the marquee annual event” for the two countries’ alliance.

“The U.S. and Philippines share a vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific that is more connected, prosperous, secure and resilient,” Variava said in her speech at the opening ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo, the Philippine military’s headquarters in Quezon City, Metro Manila.

On Monday, President Marcos tried to calm jitters and criticism among Filipinos about his administration’s decision in February to grant U.S. forces access to four more Philippine bases under an expanded defense pact, as tensions build between China and Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province. He said the bases would not be used for carrying out military attacks.

Last week, his government revealed the names and sites of the four bases. Three of these are located on the main and northernmost Philippine island of Luzon, including two sites that face Taiwan. A fourth site, in Palawan province, faces the South China Sea where territorial tensions between China and the Philippine have been high in recent years.

Marcos on Monday insisted that the Americans would use the newly selected locations to preposition equipment that they could readily access in times of natural disasters.

“Now, the reaction of China is not really surprising because they worry too much. But … the Philippines will not allow the bases to be used in offensive action. The bases are only to help the Philippines if the country needs help,” Marcos told reporters on the sidelines of an event honoring Filipino war veterans.

“What we are doing is strengthening our defenses of our territories in defense of the republic,” Marcos said.

This largest iteration of the Balikatan drills began a day after the Chinese military concluded three days of maneuvers and war games around Taiwan, including simulated precision strikes. China launched the drills as a response to Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to the United States early this month, where she met with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The unprecedented meeting on U.S. soil further angered China, which also expressed its displeasure over the Marcos administration’s move to grant the U.S. access to other bases in the Philippines.

“The U.S. military has been coming all the way from the other side of the Pacific to stir up trouble in the South China Sea and ganging up with its allies from other parts of the world to flex muscle,” the Chinese Embassy in Manila said in a March 12 statement.

The U.S. has heightened tensions, driven a wedge between China and the Philippines, as well as “upset the joint effort of countries in this region to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea,” it alleged.

Opposition to war games

Meanwhile on Tuesday, Philippine activist groups held protests outside Camp Aguinaldo and the U.S. Embassy in Manila to express their opposition to the joint military drills in different parts of the country and the expanded access for U.S. forces at local bases.

“The Philippines is ours. U.S. get out of our country!” some protesters chanted outside the military’s headquarters in Quezon City.

In a separate statement, the anti-U.S. International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) said the Balikatan exercises were “nothing but a blatant display of U.S. imperialism’s military intervention and aggression in the country and region.”

“The presence of foreign troops in local communities poses a grave threat to safety, security, and welfare of the people. We have witnessed how these exercises have resulted in environmental destruction, displacement of indigenous peoples and peasants, sexual abuse and exploitation of women and children, extrajudicial killings, torture, harassment, and intimidation of activists and critics,” ILPS chairperson Len Cooper said in a statement on Monday.

A fisherfolk group also criticized a no-sail zone policy being enforced during the military drills in at least five towns in Zambales, as the exercises coincide with the peak fishing season from February to May. The coastal towns affected are San Antonio, San Narciso, San Felipe, Cabangan, and Botolan.

“What difference does the United States make to China when it comes to disrupting the livelihood of Filipino fishers in the West Philippine Sea? The Filipinos do not deserve to be displaced from their livelihood only to provide a security blanket to foreign forces carrying out war games accompanied with live-fire exercises in our fishing grounds,” said Bobby Roldan, vice chairperson for the Luzon chapter of Pamalakaya.

“We demand the U.S. troops to leave the Filipino fishers in peace and bring their warmongering power-projection elsewhere. The Marcos administration should heed the objection of Filipino fishers against Balikatan, which is a threat both to the socio-economic rights and national security,” Roldan said.

[Basilio Sepe and Gerard Carreon contributed to this report from Manila.]


Leaders Discuss Partnership Between U.S., Philippines

Posted to the U.S. Department of Defense (Apr 11, 2023): Leaders Discuss Partnership Between U.S., Philippines (By David Vergun , DOD News)

U.S. and Philippine leaders met today to discuss the nations' military, economic and humanitarian partnership at a meeting in Washington.

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, Philippine Officer in Charge of the Department of National Defense Carlito Galvez Jr. and Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique A. Manalo held a news conference today to discuss that meeting at the State Department in Washington.

The Mutual Defense Treaty between the U.S. and the Philippines, signed in 1951, "remains the bedrock of our cooperation," Austin said.

The treaty applies to armed attacks on either nation's armed forces or public vessels anywhere in the South China Sea, he said.

At today's meeting, discussions included modernizing the Philippine armed forces and operationalizing the four new sites in Palawan and northern Luzon under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which was signed on Feb. 1, he said.

Those four new sites are Naval Base Camilo Osias, Camp Melchor Dela Cruz, Balabac Island and Lal-lo Airport. The five existing sites are Cesar Basa Air Base, Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation, Lumbia Air Base, Antonio Bautista Air Base and Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base.

These nine sites will support combined training exercises and military interoperability, Austin said, adding that by the end of fiscal year 2023, a forecasted $100 million in infrastructure will be invested at the sites.

"Those investments will spur job creation and economic growth in local Philippine communities," he said.

Today's discussion also focused on "near-term plans to complete a security-sector assistance roadmap to support the delivery of priority defense platforms over the next five to 10 years, including radar, unmanned aerial systems, military transport aircraft and coastal- and air-defense systems," Austin said.

Discussion included planning combined maritime activities with the U.S., Philippines and other ally and partner nations in the South China Sea later this year to enhance collective deterrence, he said.

Of note, Austin mentioned that more than 17,000 troops are participating in Exercise Balikatan. It is the largest and most complex iteration of that annual exercise which began 38 years ago.

Blinken touted the economic partnership, including the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity with the Philippines and other partners across east and south Asia, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

Manalo and Galvez lauded the humanitarian assistance the U.S. has provided, as well as economic and military cooperation.

READ: Spotlight: Focus on Indo-Pacific

NEWS RELEASE: Readout of U.S.-Philippines 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue
NEWS RELEASE: FACT SHEET: U.S.- Philippines 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue


Kicking off Philippines drills, US vows defense in South China Sea

Posted to ABS-CBN (Apr 12, 2023): Kicking off Philippines drills, US vows defense in South China Sea (Agence France-Presse)

Representatives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the United States Armed Forces attend the opening ceremonies of the RP-US Balikatan Exercises at the Tejeros Hall, AFP Commissioned Officers Club Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City on April 11, 2023. Over 17,600 servicemen - 5,400 from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and 12,200 US military personnel will participate in the 38th Balikatan excercise scheduled this April. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

WASHINGTON — The United States on Tuesday promised to defend the Philippines in the dispute-rife South China Sea as the allies launched their largest-ever joint exercises in the face of Beijing's growing assertiveness in the region.

Nearly 18,000 troops are taking part in the annual exercises dubbed Balikatan, or "shoulder to shoulder" in Filipino, which for the first time will include a live-fire drill in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost entirely.

The drills follow Monday's conclusion of a three-day Chinese military exercise that simulated targeted strikes and a blockade of self-ruled, democratic Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its territory.

READ: Taiwan: How worried should the world be about China's wargames?

In rare joint talks in Washington with their Philippine counterparts, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin discussed a deal reached last week for US forces to use a growing number of bases in the Philippines, including one near Taiwan.

Blinken said the United States affirmed its "unwavering commitment to standing with the Philippines against any intimidation or coercion, including in the South China Sea."

The mutual defense treaty, signed in 1951 after the Philippines' independence from Washington, "applies to armed attacks on either of our armed forces, our aircraft or public vessels, including our Coast Guard, anywhere in the South China Sea," Austin told a joint news conference.

The United States and the Philippines plan new exercises in the South China Sea later in the year that will include other countries, Austin said.

He said the United States is allocating more than $100 million to the bases in the current fiscal year and that the United States would provide new military equipment to the Philippines including drones and air defenses.

Asked if the Philippines worried about China's reaction, acting defense chief Carlito Galvez said, "We don't expect any violent reaction considering that this exercise is intended for our collective defense."

News of the expanded base access had prompted China to accuse the United States of "endangering regional peace and stability."

"Countries in this part of the world must uphold strategic independence and firmly resist the Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation," China's ambassador to Manila, Huang Xilian, said last week.

FAST FACTS: Expanded US access to Philippine military bases

Balikatan will include military helicopters landing on a Philippine island off the northern tip of the main island of Luzon, nearly 300 kilometers from Taiwan, and the retaking of another island by amphibious forces.

It will be the first time the exercises have been held under President Ferdinand Marcos, who has sought to strengthen ties with the United States after his predecessor Rodrigo Duterte trashed the alliance.

"In order for us to protect our sovereign territory, we really have to drill and exercise how we are going to retake an island that's been taken away from us," Philippine exercises spokesman Colonel Michael Logico told reporters after the opening ceremony at a military camp in Manila.

About 12,200 American, 5,400 Filipino and just over 100 Australian soldiers will participate in the two weeks of Balikatan exercises -- about twice as many as last year.

The Americans will also use their Patriot missiles, considered one of the best air defense systems in the world, and the HIMARS precision rocket system, which has helped Ukrainian forces fighting the Russian invaders.

The two armies originally planned to fire live rounds at sea off the northern province of Ilocos Norte, about 355 kilometers from Taiwan's south coast, but moved it farther down the South China Sea, Philippine Army Major-General Marvin Licudine said.

The original site was "not sufficiently prepared" for unloading the needed equipment, he said.

The new venue is less than 300 kilometers east of the Chinese-held Scarborough Shoal.

The exercises will enhance "tactics, techniques and procedures across a wide range of military operations," said Philippine military spokesman Colonel Medel Aguilar.

About 50 leftwing protesters staged a rally outside the opening ceremony venue, calling on the Philippine government to scrap the exercises.

Philippines, US to hold 2-plus-2 ministerial talks on April 11

© Agence France-Presse


PH not expecting violent reactions from China due to Balikatan – DND chief

From CNN Philippines (Apr 12, 2023): PH not expecting violent reactions from China due to Balikatan – DND chief (By CNN Philippines Staff)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 12) — The Philippines is not expecting any negative reactions from China as the Southeast Asian country holds its largest joint military exercises with the United States and other allies, Department of National Defense Officer-in-Charge Carlito Galvez Jr. said on Wednesday.

"We've been doing Balikatan yearly. We don't expect any violent reaction, considering that these exercises are intended for our collective defense with the US and other allies," Galvez said in a joint media briefing with US and Philippine officials.

With over 17,500 combined troops from the US and the Philippines, the 38th iteration of Balikatan, the largest ever, kicked off on Tuesday.

WATCH: PH, U.S. troops stage biggest-ever 'Balikatan'

The Armed Force of the Philippines also aims to develop the country's cyber defense capabilities through the annual military drill with the US.

With US-China tensions rising due to the Taiwan issue, Beijing has warned against the Philippines’ Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US, but it has not commented on Balikatan.


Army, police secure village after goons harass patrol base

From the Mindanao Times (Apr 11, 2023): Army, police secure village after goons harass patrol base (By RHODA GRACE SARON)

THE VILLAGE in Kadingilan town, Bukidnon, where more or less 20 armed men tried to intimidate a police patrol base early dawn on Monday, April 10, is already under control.

The military reported that one tribal chieftain was killed while the nearly 1,000 residents who fled their homes had already returned.

However, Brig Gen Patricio Reuben Amata, 1002nd Infantry Brigade commander, told TIMES on Tuesday in a phone interview that the 300 scared families took refuge at Barangay Cabadiangan gym.

“They can slowly go back to their respective areas because we have already stabilized the situation and eliminated the threat because the armed group already escaped,” Amata said.

The army official said they immediately sent reinforcements from the 48th Infantry Battalion after receiving the report that armed men harassed the police patrol base.

“The intent was to expel the patrol base,” he said, explaining the motive of the armed mob.

Reportedly, he said one tribal chieftain in the adjacent Barangay Carmen died during the harassment.

Amata explained that there is an existing land conflict between the two barangays. However, they talked with the local barangay officials and the chief executive to defuse the situation.

“We already talked to the mayor and the community, and they knew the identities of those who harassed (the patrol base),” he added.

Moreover, he allayed fears that the incident involved the New People’s Army showing its force. He insisted that the towns of Damulog, Kibawe, Kadingilan, and Don Carlos in Bukidnon are already NPA-cleared areas.

For now, soldiers of the 48th Infantry Battalion and the Bukidnon police remained in the area to implement peace and prevent another attack.

Just recently, Kadingilan, including Maramag, Valencia, Quezon, and Don Carlos all of Bukidnon, was already turned over to the 10th Infantry Division last March 2023 as an additional area of responsibility.

Photo courtesy of Arch Plaza FB post


Joint Statement of the U.S.-Philippines 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue

Posted to the U.S. Department of State-Office of the Spokesperson (Apr 11, 2023): Joint Statement of the U.S.-Philippines 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue


APRIL 11, 2023

The text of the following statement was released by the governments of the United States of America and of the Philippines on the occasion of the U.S.-Philippines 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.

Begin Text

Secretary of State Blinken, Secretary of Defense Austin, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Manalo, and Senior Undersecretary and Officer in Charge (OIC) of National Defense Galvez (referred to collectively as “the Secretaries”) convened the third U.S. Philippines 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in Washington, D.C., on April 11, 2023.

Recognizing the importance of the U.S.-Philippines alliance to regional peace and stability, the Secretaries put forth a shared vision that supports the international rules-based order, deepens our economic ties, provides for our peoples’ broad-based prosperity, and addresses evolving regional and global security challenges.

The Secretaries welcomed and built on commitments made at the 10th Bilateral Strategic Dialogue, held in Manila on January 19 and 20, 2023, encompassing topics such as defense, climate and energy policy, sustainable and inclusive economic growth, food security, maritime affairs, civil space cooperation, and democracy and human rights.

Respect for the Rules-Based Order in the Indo-Pacific and Around the World

Acknowledging that the futures of our countries are not only intertwined with each other’s but also that of the region and the rest of the world, the Secretaries reaffirmed their support for unimpeded lawful commerce and full respect for international law, including freedom of navigation and overflight, and other lawful uses of the sea. They exchanged views on key regional and global developments that threaten global peace and the international rules-based order. The Secretaries:
  • Underlined their strong objections to the unlawful maritime claims, militarization of reclaimed features, and threatening and provocative activities in the South China Sea, including the recent attempts of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to disrupt the Philippines’ lawful operations at and around Second Thomas Shoal and the repeated massing of PRC maritime militia vessels at several sites within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), including, but not limited to, maritime areas in the vicinity of Iroquois Reef, Sabina Shoal, Second Thomas Shoal, and Whitsun Reef. Such activities also interfere with the livelihoods of fisherfolk and undermine Philippine food security;
  • Called on the PRC to fully comply with the final and legally binding 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea. The Award, which was constituted under the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, is final and legally binding on the parties, and validates the Philippines’ sovereign rights and jurisdiction with respect to its EEZ and continental shelf, including maritime areas in the vicinity of Reed Bank, Mischief Reef, and Second Thomas Shoal also known in the Philippines as Recto Bank, Panganiban Reef, and Ayungin Shoal, respectively;
  • Noted with concern recent reports regarding further conduct of covert land reclamation on unoccupied features in the Spratly Islands and rejected the use of reclamation as a means of rationalizing or propagating unlawful maritime claims, in direct contravention of the principles outlined in the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea;
  • Reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as an indispensable element of global security and prosperity;
  • Condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) unprecedented number of unlawful and reckless ballistic missile launches over the past year, reaffirmed their commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and urged Pyongyang to abide by its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions;
  • Reaffirmed support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters; and
  • Reiterated the importance of multilateralism, sustained dialogue and cooperation, and the peaceful settlement of disputes based on international law, in maintaining peace and stability in the region and around the world.
Alliance Modernization

Mindful of the growing complexity of the Indo-Pacific security environment, including the multidimensional nature of modern challenges and threats to the peace and security of the Philippines and the United States, the Secretaries reaffirmed their shared determination to defend against external armed attack in the Pacific, which includes the South China Sea, in accordance with the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), and redoubled their commitment to modernizing U.S.-Philippines alliance cooperation to bolster our combined deterrence. Both sides further look forward to continuing discussions regarding the nature of threats that may arise in different domains — including land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace — and effective responses. The Secretaries highlighted their intent to work toward building interoperability and cooperation in both conventional and non-conventional domains.

To this end, the Secretaries committed to:
  • Strengthen bilateral planning and interoperability to ensure readiness to respond to a range of crises and scenarios, through the conduct of high impact and high value joint exercises, trainings, and other activities as well as by fast tracking ongoing discussions on a new U.S.-Philippines Bilateral Defense Guidelines;
  • Prioritize the modernization of shared defense capabilities, particularly in the maritime domain, through various modalities, including U.S. Foreign Military Financing and Excess Defense Articles. The adoption of a Security Sector Assistance Roadmap in the coming months will guide shared defense modernization investments and inform the delivery of priority platforms over the next 5 to 10 years. In addition, the Security Sector Assistance Roadmap will identify areas for capacity-building to enhance the Philippines’ core institutions and support security sector governance. Meanwhile, both sides underscored the importance of fast-tracking discussions on an acquisition plan for a fleet of multi-role fighter aircraft for the Philippine Air Force, as well as of leveraging the additional $100 million in Foreign Military Financing that the United States announced last fall to acquire medium lift helicopters;
  • Accelerate the implementation of EDCA projects and increase investments in EDCA Agreed Locations to further support combined training, exercises, and interoperability between the U.S. and Philippine Armed Forces, as well as the Philippines’ civilian-led disaster preparedness and response capacities. The United States expects to have allocated over $100 million by the end of fiscal year 2023 toward infrastructure investments at the existing five EDCA sites and to support swift operationalization of the four new sites;
  • Complement combined military training and exercises as well as EDCA-related projects with community-based activities of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), including on increasing access to safe water supplies, education, and healthcare, sustainable fisheries management, biodiversity conservation, and energy security;
  • Finalize plans for the resumption of combined maritime activities, including the conduct of joint sails by the U.S. and Philippine navies, in the South China Sea. Both sides also discussed plans to conduct multilateral maritime activities with other like-minded partners in the South China Sea later this year;
  • Expand information-sharing on the principal challenges confronting the U.S.-Philippine alliance, including through the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness initiative and the conclusion of a bilateral General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) before the end of the year, with the goal of enabling real-time information-sharing and technology cooperation across domains;
  • Expand cooperation, exchange best practices, and increase strategic convergence on counterterrorism and addressing gray zone challenges, including for protecting critical infrastructure against attacks emanating from state and nonstate actors and for promoting civilian-led, non-military counter-terrorism initiatives, where feasible and effective, using an inclusive, rights-based, victim-centered, and whole-of-society approach to counterterrorism; and
  • Continue dialogue and cooperation to advance the protection of human rights in the security sector, and the promotion of the rules-based order across the Indo-Pacific region.
Economic and Environmental Security

Acknowledging that the Alliance must be able to address security in its broadest sense and deliver direct, substantial and tangible benefits to our peoples and future generations, the Secretaries committed to exploring additional avenues to enhance economic engagement and to:
  • Continue to advance the shared agenda for inclusive and sustainable economic growth through the modernization of infrastructure, the digital economy, enhanced agricultural productivity, promotion of renewable energy and green technologies, and enhanced food and energy security;
  • Further collaborate in building resilient supply chains and safeguarding critical and emerging technologies. This includes working together to develop and build the resilience of the Philippine and U.S. semiconductor industries;
  • Build on the successful cooperation to date in supporting the Philippines’ COVID-19 pandemic response by charting new ways to become more resilient for future health emergencies, including by improving the shared ability to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases;
  • Work together under the theme “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All” to ensure the 2023 U.S. APEC host year is successful in advancing an interconnected, innovative, and inclusive region;
  • Convene before the end of 2023 a kick-off planning session for the first meeting of the Joint Committee under the 2019 Science and Technology Agreement, which is a tool to promote scientific collaboration, build relationships between U.S. and Philippine scientific institutions, and provide opportunities to exchange ideas and information to advance scientific and technological endeavors of mutual interest. Particular consideration will be given with respect to virology and vaccines, combating non-communicable diseases, and ridge-to-reef cooperation;
  • Through the U.S.-Philippines Food Security Dialogue, exchange best practices for agricultural innovation, sustainability, and transforming food systems by adapting nutritious crops to climate change, improving soil health, and strengthening value chains to ensure reliable access to a safe food supply in the face of future shocks;
  • Identify opportunities for future collaboration in enhancing disaster preparedness, and for the protection and conservation of the Philippines’ rich coastal and marine resources. The Secretaries highlighted the U.S. assistance and technical support provided to the Government of the Philippines in response to the oil spill off the coast of Oriental Mindoro. They applauded the successful coordination of response efforts between the Philippine Coast Guard, Japan Disaster Relief team, and a U.S. team of subject matter experts from the U.S. Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Navy. The Secretaries noted ongoing cooperation, including the sharing of satellite imagery to inform oil spill monitoring and forecasting;
  • Build on successful multilateral civil space cooperation within the Asia Pacific region. The United States and the Philippines are committed to holding our first civil space bilateral dialogue in Washington by July 2023. The Secretaries further committed to promote the use of space-based technology in supporting the Philippines’ climate resiliency response and to advance mutual interest in the use of remote sensing and Earth observation applications.
  • Enhance cooperation in addressing the climate crisis and prepare for and prevent its worst impacts, including on vulnerable populations. To this end, the Secretaries further committed to collaborate on assessments of climate threats, and incorporating these assessments into joint planning, innovation, training, investments and financing to accelerate and increase renewable energy capacity as well as the grid expansion needed to facilitate its deployment, in support of the Philippines’ clean energy transition. They welcomed the recent launch of the U.S.-Philippines Offshore Wind Development Partnership as an important step towards delivering crucial technical assistance to accelerate offshore wind development. They also decided to explore partnerships and promote public-private initiatives on climate transition financing;
  • Launch the Energy Policy Dialogue, a high-level platform for the two nations to develop new forms of energy cooperation, including on short- and long-term energy planning, offshore wind development, rooftop solar capabilities, nuclear energy for electricity generation, and grid stability and power transmission;
  • Pursue negotiations for a potential U.S.-Philippines Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, or 123 Agreement, to provide a legal framework for possible nuclear cooperation between the United States and the Philippines, as well as continue capacity building efforts on small modular reactors as potential clean energy solutions under the Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) Program;
  • Scale up cooperation and partnership with respect to strategies on critical minerals processing and sustainable and green mining, and new prospecting activities, among others;
  • Promote the modernization of the Philippines’ infrastructure and cooperate on high-standard, sustainable, private sector-led infrastructure investment as a means of supporting economic growth and enhancing connectivity in the Philippines, including within the framework of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII), the Blue Dot Network, and Transaction Advisory Fund (TAF). The Secretaries welcomed new activities announced by the U.S. Trade & Development Agency, including a feasibility study on airport security screening at the Manila International Airport, a Smart Grid Reverse Trade Mission to bring Philippine grid operators to the United States, and a healthcare workshop in the Philippines focused on medical device regulatory frameworks. They also directed their respective sides to establish a future workshop for Philippine government and private sector contacts on subsea cables;
  • Pursue further cooperation, under a programmatic approach, to build the Philippines’ capacities to effectively implement its trade and investment reform agenda, including to strengthen Philippine investment screening and countering proliferation finance mechanisms to allow for transparent and accountable review of certain foreign investments and protect national security while maintaining an open and business-friendly investment climate;
  • Deepen our bilateral trade and investment relationship under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA);
  • Continue to work together through negotiations under the four pillars of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).
Alliance Partnerships

Recognizing that the Alliance is more effective when acting in concert with other likeminded partners, the Secretaries:
  • Reaffirmed their strong support for the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and emphasized that partnerships and arrangements in the Indo-Pacific should uphold ASEAN centrality in the evolving rules-based regional security architecture;
  • Committed to consultations regarding the Australia-United Kingdom- United States (AUKUS) trilateral security partnership, and its objectives to promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific;
  • Welcomed the Quad’s commitment to support a peaceful and stable, rules-based region with ASEAN at the center, through its efforts to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific;
  • Acknowledged the importance of further promoting economic and security cooperation with other partners in Southeast Asia through such activities as joint training and capacity building, including for counterpart nations’ coast guards; and
  • Identified concrete opportunities to expand operational coordination particularly with Japan and Australia, including through observation and/or participation in trilateral and multilateral exercises and the continuation of the Japan – Philippines – U.S. Trilateral Defense Policy Dialogue.
Finally, and most importantly, the Secretaries acknowledged the central role of people-to-people ties—cultivated by generations of Filipinos and Americans, including Filipino-Americans—in driving the bilateral relationship forward. The Secretaries:
  • Noted the more than 8,000 Filipino alumni of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs, many of whom have risen to senior leadership positions in the Philippines, and hailed the 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Philippines program, which is the oldest continuing Fulbright Program in the world. The Secretaries also committed to exploring new resources to support Fulbright’s efforts in developing expertise that are critical to the partnership and alliance;
  • Recognized the vital contributions of the more than four million Filipino-Americans to the progress and security of the United States. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Filipino-American health professionals were among those at the frontlines of protecting their communities. Filipino-Americans have made, and continue to make, a positive impact as teachers, service members, artists, financial and social services workers, tech innovators, and civil rights advocates. The Filipino Young Leaders Program (FYLPRO) and IMPACT! Program for Filipino-Americans, which were developed in partnership with the Philippine Government, are notable for helping to build a pipeline of Filipino-American leaders who advocate for their communities’ interests and serve as a bridge between the two countries; and
  • Celebrated the continued array of exchanges, including two inaugural events sponsored by the United States government within the preceding two months—the first ever National Youth Development Alliance Summit, held in Davao, to strengthen city government programs for employing and educating out-of-school youth around the Philippines; and the first ever Civil Society Organization Summit to Protect Philippine Marine Resources and Biodiversity in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, for the purpose of coordinating action for marine biodiversity conservation and protection in the coastal areas of Northern Luzon, Mindoro, and Palawan.
End Text