SHOULDER TO SHOULDER ((From Left) PH Exercise Director Lt Gen Oscar Lactao, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana, Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Mananalo, AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año, and US Exercise Director Lt Gen Lawrence Nicholson join hands to symbolize the longstanding military partnership of the Philippines and the United States of America.

 

CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. forces held the opening ceremony for Exercise Balikatan 33-2017, Monday (May 8).  The occasion officially launched all exercise humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and counterterrorism (HADR/CT) events, as well as subject matter expert exchanges.  Leaders from both nations attended, including the acting Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo, and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim.

Philippine and U.S. forces will continue their community engagement activities and engineering civic assistance projects on Panay, Leyte and Samar and begin other HADR/CT training on Luzon and surrounding areas. The training focuses on HADR/CT operations to improve response effectiveness and speed in the event of natural disasters and other crises that endanger public health and safety.  Balikatan 33-2017 events scheduled for media to observe include:

May 11: HADR/CT staff exercise (HADR STAFFEX); Camp Aguinaldo, QC.

May 12: Disaster preparedness training; Fort Magsaysay.

May 15: Civil Military Activities from the Sea (CMA-S); Casiguran, Aurora.

May 16: Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR); Upi, Isabela.

May 17: Humanitarian civic action (HCA) engineering civic assistance project (ENCAP) dedications; Surok, Guiuan, Samar.

May 19: Closing Ceremony; Camp Aguinaldo, QC.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. military have a longstanding relationship that has contributed to regional security and stability and is deeply rooted in cooperation.  By training together, they further develop tactics, techniques and procedures that are mutually beneficial and specific to the region.

In this 33rd iteration of Balikatan, the 2,800 service members from the Philippines and 2,600 from the United States will continue to collaborate with regional partner nations. Approximately 80 service members from Australia and 20 from Japan will participate in all major training events, and the AFP has invited military forces from several other nations to be part of the International Observers Program.