Five exercises, led by CARAT and Phiblex, will not be held in 2017
The Philippines said five exercises were removed from the list of military exercises with the United States next year
General Ricardo Visaya, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief, told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo Wednesday: “They (United States) respected us and as I have told you we can always change some exercises and based on the guidance of our president it will be more on counter terrorism.”
Visaya made the comment when asked about the reaction of the American military officials on reducing the military exercises which were discussed during the Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) in Camp Aguinaldo last Tuesday.
Visaya said the Philippine and United States have a total of 260 plus joint exercises every year, and this become 258 after five exercises were removed.
He said two exercises removed were Cooperation Afloat Readiness Training (CARAT) and the Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise (Phiblex). Visaya could not name the other three.
Brigadier General Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesman, said the Balikatan, the biggest military exercise by the US and Filipino troops will remain.
“The Balikatan will not be removed. It will continue but the Balikatan will focus on the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response ,” Padilla said.
Visaya did not say if the number of troops joining the exercises next year will be reduced.
“We will see because that will depend on the requirements during the exercises,” he said.
Padilla said the technical working groups of the Armed Forces and its American counterpart are set to hold meetings this December and January next year.
“Based on the new list that he (Visaya) saw, the number that he mentioned is the number of exercises on the list, but our working group in AFP and our counterpart in US will again sit together and discussed this, to further reduced (the number of exercises),” he said
“There are exercises that need to be removed or combined because the number will be lessen so that will be discussed,” Padilla added. Robina Asido/DMS