Philippines, US agrees to remove live fire exercises in Balance Piston
The Philippine and United States agreed to remove live fire exercise in this year’s Balance Piston exercise that will start in Palawan Wednesday.
Col. Benjamin Hao, Philippine Army spokesman, did not say why the live fire training was removed on this year’s Balance Piston exercise. He said this was based on the guidance of the higher headquarters.
“Right now the guidance that was given to us is that both armed forces agreed to remove the live firing, so right now the decision is to only have marksmanship training, there is still firing but only marksmanship,” Hao said in a briefing on Tuesday.
“Based on the guidance that I receive from our training officer, there will be no live firing there, because before there were on the actual field fire, though it is controlled, but this time it was removed,” he added.
Hao said in a live firing exercise participants will “fire rounds in a given scenario.”
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana previously said although President Rodrigo Duterte agreed to continue some war games with the United States, Duterte ordered to stop assault exercises.
Hao said the exercise between the Philippine and US Special Operations operatives was supposed to start last Monday but it was delayed for two days because of the late arrival of the American forces.
He said the one-month exercises will be participated by around 40 Philippine Army Special Operations personnel, but he did not say how many US soldiers will join.
Hao said activities under the Balance Piston include combat swimming, human rights exchange and casualty care.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Navy through the Fleet-Marine Ready Force, will conduct a five-day unilateral exercise codenamed “Pagsisikap 2016” at Marine Barracks Gregorio Lim, Ternate, Cavite on November 18.
Ensign Adeltrude Dayata, acting Navy public affairs chief, said the goal of the exercise is to develop “an amphibious capable force for range of amphibious operations.” Robina Asido/DMS