• Asian countries invited as observers in war drill

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    MILITARY personnel from 11 Southeast Asian countries have been invited to observe the annual military exercise between the Philippines and the United States, which will start on April 4, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

    The AFP on Wednesday began the first phase of Exercise Balikatan 2016, conducting preliminary work on five different school buildings and community medical engagements on Panay island and Palawan province leading up to information exchanges and live training events over 12 days.

    In the following weeks, US forces will join their local counterparts as they work shoulder-to-shoulder during these engagements and throughout the exercise.

    The drill, which will start on April 4, will focus on a variety of missions to include humanitarian assistance, maritime law enforcement and environmental protection.

    Closing ceremony will be held on April 15.

    Throughout the exercise, Filipino and American forces will work together to enhance maritime law enforcement throughout the Philippines in order to meet annual training requirements, and enhance techniques, tactics and procedures as a critical part of inter-operability of Philippine forces.

    Military service members from both countries will also conduct combined simulation-supported events (SSEs) and operational events (OEs) in three main commands of the AFP (Western Command, Northern Luzon Command and Southern Luzon Command) and other major Philippine military camps such as Crow Valley, Fort Magsaysay, Clark Air Field, Subic Bay, Palawan and Panay to improve their ability to work together, partnering in capabilities and plan follow-on operations.

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