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4月2日のまにら新聞から

Balikatan military exercises with US, Australia start

[ 523 words|2019.4.2|英字 (English) ]

The annual Balikatan military exercise between Philippines, United States and Australian forces was began at Camp Aguinaldo on Monday.

The ceremony was led by US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Benjamin Madrigal.

Madrigal said seven countries, led by Japan, sent their delegates as observers.

“This year, seven countries are sending their respective delegations. We have Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the United Kingdom,” he said.

In his speech, Madrigal said “the 35th iteration of the annual military exercise is a testament of our enduring commitment to our defense partnership.”

“Every year when our troops train together and hurdle developed scenarios, in a way we actually relive the times when Filipinos and American soldiers fought side by side in defense of peace, freedom and democracy,” he said.

“Balikatan 2019 aims to enhance the interoperability of Philippines and United States forces in joint and combined operations and to project a posture of readiness to combat any security threat, it serves as a platform when we could exchange our best practices in various military operations, a venue where we could validate our defense plans and an opportunity where we could amplify our alliances with other participating countries,” he noted.

Madrigal said this year’s military exercise focuses on territorial defense and counter-terrorism.

“Unique from the previous years, Balikatan 35-2019 has scaled up exercises, meaning more focus on the area of territorial defense and counter terrorism operations,” he said.

“It is our primary goal that the exercise outcome would be beneficial for everyone. in the conduct of our four major events, the staff exercise and command post exercise, joint interoperability events, combined operability events and humanitarian civic assistance events, much shall be learned in enhancing our full spectrum of capabilities,” he added.

Lt. Cmdr. Liezl Vidallon, Balikatan Philippine public affairs officer said the exercises will be participated by almost 8,000 forces composed of 4,000 AFP, 3,500 American and 50 Australian forces.

Vidallion said the exercises that will last until April 12 will be held in the areas of Zambales, Tarlac, Cavite, Mindoro, Pampanga, Bataan, Batangas, Laguna and Palawan.

She said among the assets joining the military exercises include BRP Ramon Alcaraz of the Philippine Navy and FA-50 fighter aircraft of the Philippine Air Force.

Luna also emphasized how remarkable and historic this year’s exercise on the alliance of Philippines and United States.

“This Balikatan 2019 is truly a remarkable and historic one as no less than President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has affirmed that the Philippines and American friendship alliance will grow further into higher greater heights as the United States government honor its promise to return to the Philippines the Balangiga bells in December of last year,” he said.

“The Filipino nation rejoiced in America's faith fullness and sincerity in returning those bells of faith,” he added.

Kim also emphasized the significance of the military exercises on maintaining the stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

“We are not only protecting our own shared security but also contributing greatly to the stability and prosperity throughout the Indo-Pacific region,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS