Wednesday, March 07, 2012

BALIKATAN 2012: Towards an Enduring Partnership

CAMP AGUINALDO, QUEZON CITY-- The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States will come together for mutual defense and disaster response exercises on April 16-27, 2012 for Balikatan 2012 (BK12). This year’s Balikatan Exercises is the 28th of its series that calls for a more responsive partnership with the community focusing on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HA/DR) Training.
The third HA/DR focused Bilateral Exercise (the first in 2008 and the second in 2010) of the RP-US Balikatan Exercise 2012 is a combined joint military exercise based on the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty. 
The exercise is designed to enhance the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the United States Armed Forces interoperability in the conduct of not only on traditional military training but also on non-traditional aspects that reach out communities in need of urgent assistance. The activity is conducted every year to serve as a venue for joint and combined training between the Philippine and United States militaries.
BK12 will be conducted simultaneously in different areas in the country. The first event is Humanitarian and Civic Assistance projects in Palawan, designed to improve the Philippine and US military civic action cooperation, and train civil-military personnel to work together focusing on civic assistance and HA/DR.  The AFP and U.S. personnel will construct classrooms in five barangays and will conduct multiple medical, dental, veterinary civic action projects in identified communities.
The second event, which involves cross-training and field training exercises in mainland Luzon and Palawan province, is designed to improve the interoperability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. military.
A Command Post Exercise will also be conducted to test the current HA/DR concept plans of the AFP and other concerned government agencies. The activity seeks to identify gaps and solutions from previous disaster situations that occurred recently in the Philippines and anticipated future calamities. It will be participated by the National Disaster Coordinating Council, Office of Civil Defense, Metro Manila Disaster Coordinating Council, AFP, United States Agency for International Development, United States Pacific Command, United Nations Country Team, United Nations Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, World Food Program, International Federation of the Red Cross and the Philippine Red Cross.
The conduct of BK12 affirms a long and lasting partnership founded firmly on mutual assistance as freedom-loving countries committed to the preservation of liberty, democracy and human life. The end goal of the exercise is to further promote and foster the existing friendship between the people of the Philippines and the United States and advance the security and stability in the region.
"The relationship between the US Armed Forces and the Armed Forces of the Philippines continues to be healthy and vibrant. The cooperation between the two Armed Forces manifests the unswerving dedication and commitment of our security forces towards a more stable and secure Asia-Pacific region. We are looking forward to a successful and fruitful Balikatan 2012 which will help our troops to perform better and further improve their capabilities,” LtGen Jessie D. Dellosa said.
PAO-AFP | Armed Forces of the Philippines | Article Link

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