THIS year’s Balikatan exercises that will kick off on April 20 will be joined by 11,679 American and Filipino soldiers.
The military exercises will involve 6,656 US soldiers, 5,023 personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and 61 soldiers from the Australian Defense Forces (ADF). At least 91 aircraft will be used.
“Our Armed Forces and the US Armed Forces are coming together for this mutual defense and disaster response exercises towards a more responsive partnership to the community focusing on development and community service,” said Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office (PAO).
The opening ceremony will be held at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City (Metro Manila) on April 20 while the closing ceremony will be at Clark Airbase on April 30.
In the Command Post Exercise (CPX) event, the scenario will focus on Marine Security (MARSEC) with Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) to demonstrate the capability of the AFP National Maneuver Force. Selected US and ADF staff members will form a Joint Liaison Group (JLG) to support the capability development at each staff.
Field Training Exercises (FTX) which involves the Philippine Army (PA), Philippine Air Force (PAF), Philippine Navy (PN), Philippine Marine Corps (PMC), AFP Special Operations Force (SOF), United States Army (USAR), United States Air Force (USAF), US Navy (USN), US Marine Crops (USMC), and US SOF will be held in Crow Valley Gunnery Range (CVGR) in Tarlac, Basa Air Base, Floridablanca and Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Marine Base Gregorio Lim in Ternate, Cavite, Naval Base Heracleo Alano in Sangley Point, Cavite and at Naval Station Leovigildo Gantiouqui in San Antonio, Zambales.
The Balikatan Exercise Director for this year is Vice Admiral Aexander Lopez, while Brig. Gen. Rodolfo Santiago, commandant of AFP Command and General Staff College is the vice director.