PH-US Balikatan exercises kick off


Only two of the military’s unified commands will join this year’s “Balikatan” exercises with American soldiers.

The military exercises will run from May 8 to 19.

Philippine “Balikatan” spokesperson Major Frank Sayson said the Cebu-based Central Command (CentCom) and the Northern Luzon Command (NolCom) will participate in the exercises.

Last year, four units joined the Balikatan maneuvers — CentCom, NolCom, the Southern Luzon Command and Western Command.

This year’s exercises will focus on disaster response and counter-terrorism training.

“We will be having small arms military-to-military activities, some joint special operations activities which is really aligned to counter-terrorism,” Saysonsaid.

Other activities include underwater demolition activities in Ormoc, Leyte wherein US operatives will teach their Filipino counterparts the techniques in clearing up sea debris to allow ships to safely dock and expedite the transport of relief supplies to areas battered by typhoon and other calamities.

At least 2,600 American personnel, 2,800 Filipino soldiers will join the exercises.



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