SOME 700 Philippine Navy personnel and 2,000 United States soldiers will participate in a 12-day joint Amphibious Landing Exercises near disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Naval Public Affairs Office chief Lt. Cmdr. Marideth Domingo on Tuesday said the exercises aim to improve inter-operability and combat readiness of the Philippines and US forces while enhancing security cooperation in the region.
The land and sea exercises will be held from September 29 to October 10 in several locations in Crow Valley in Subic Bay, Clark Air Field in Pampanga and in the West Philippine Sea.
In Palawan, the war games will be held in the area of responsibility of the Naval Forces West, under the Western Command (Wescom), the unit in charge of overseeing the country’s interest in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
Under the Wescom’s jurisdiction are the Pag-asa Island group, Ayungin Shoal, Recto Bank in Palawan and Scarborough Shoal in Zambales.
These areas are considered potential flashpoints as they are also being claimed by China.
The Philippines has brought its territorial dispute with China to international arbitration that was strongly opposed by the latter.
According to Domingo, the Wescom exercises would include military exchanges in tactical warfare simulation, amphibious operations, maritime security planning and command post exercise.
“We would like to come up with amphibious units that will have the capability to contribute to our national maneuver force, that’s why we train our Marines,” she explained.