Saturday, May 17, 2014

Balikatan Exercise ’14 Ends Today

From the Website of AFP

Published: 16 May 2014
CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The PH-US Balikatan Exercise 2014 officially ends today, May 16 in a closing ceremony attended by high-ranking defense and military officials from the Philippines and United States, here at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Commissioned Officers Club.

Department of National Defense Undersecretary Honorio Asqueta represented Defense Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin who presided over today’s ceremony along with AFP Chief of Staff General Emmanuel T. Bautista, U.S. Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Brian L. Goldbeck, BK14 Exercise Director for Philippines, Major Gen. Emeraldo Magnaye and his U.S. counterpart, Major Gen. Richard Simcock II, deputy commander of US Marine Corps Forces Pacific.

Over 3,000 Filipino and 2,500 American soldiers participated in the annual Balikatan Exercise which started last week and have since then took part in a series of staff exercises, field training exercises, and humanitarian and civic assistance activities held in the country.
The staff exercises were held here in Camp Aguinaldo and in AFP Western Command in Puerto Princesa. These exercises gathered together participants from AFP and U.S. Military as well as representatives from the Australian Defense Force in an academic discussion and crisis action planning on common BK14 scenarios.

Bilateral field training events were held in AFP camps in Luzon. In May 9, a joint Philippines and U.S. Marines amphibious drill involving about 120 Filipino and American marine soldiers was held at the Naval Education and Training Command in Zambales. Combined live-fire exercises were also held at the Marine Base in Ternate, Cavite last Sunday and in Crow Valley, Tarlac yesterday.

In Bicol troops from the AFP Southern Luzon Command took the lead in the construction of a health center, two-room classroom building, water catchment system and concreting of sidewalk in Malobago Elementary School, Bgy Malobago and another one-room school building in Doña Mercedes Elementary School all in Guinobatan, Albay. The installation of water storage tank and construction of a public rest room also benefitted the residents of Brgy. Pawa, Legazpi City. The troops also repaired and renovated parts of Tamaoyan Elementary School in Brgy. Tamaoyan, Legazpi City. Combined Army and Navy troops from AFP and U.S. Armed Forces likewise constructed and renovated school-buildings, offered medical and veterinary services, and conducted medical symposia and training in Legazpi City and Guinobatan, both in Albay. A total of 65 personnel from the AFP and 94 from joint US and multinational forces participated in the events.

The partnership between the AFP and U.S. Armed Forces continue to be healthy, dynamic and beneficial. It continues to highlight the unswerving commitment of both military forces towards a more secure Asia-Pacific region. 

“As we conclude this year’s Balikatan Exercises, we look forward to more joint bilateral military exercises and undertakings that will help the AFP in coping with our ever evolving security environment and achieve our goal of a minimum credible defense system,” Balikatan 2014 Spokeperson, Lieutenant Annaleah P. Cazcarro said.

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