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28th joint PH, US Marines amphibious training benefits thousands of Pinoys

Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City: The 28th RP-US AMPHIBIOUS LANDING EXERCISE (PHIBLEX) officially ended here on October 28, 2011 in a closing ceremony, attended by top military officials, government representatives and exercise participants.

It benefitted thousands of local residents from the humanitarian projects provided through the exercise.

Marine Commandant Major General Rustico O Guerrero AFP was the keynote speaker. He emphasized the mutual significance of the bilateral training.

United States Ambassador Harry Thomas and the Executive Director of the Visiting Forces Agreement Commission Undersecretary Edilberto P. Adan were among those who attended the closing ceremony.

From day one of the PHIBLEX, Philippine Exercise Director, Brigadier General Eugenio N Clemen AFP expressed his confidence that the bilateral training would enhance the Philippine Marine Corps’ effectiveness in its operations against internal and external security missions. He also noted that the humanitarian assistance projects would help the communities where the Philippine Marines are deployed.

Brigadier General Craig Timberlake, the United States Exercise Director, said he delighted with the success of this year’s bilateral exercise, and sees the continued good relations and partnership of the Philippines and the United States in maintaining peace and effecting rapid response in serving the people.

This year’s exercise displayed the robust defense partnership of the Philippines and the United States. It gave primacy to effective interoperability on disaster response preparedness, community development and humanitarian assistance projects.

Thousands of residents of local communities in Cavite, Taguig City and various municipalities of Palawan benefited from the medical and engineering civic projects. The success of the RP-US military training exercises like the PHIBLEX can also be attributed to the diligent participation of AFP reservists and the cooperation of concerned local government units.

The joint military training exercises aimed to formulate and assess concepts for the Unilateral Defense Plan (UDP). Furthermore, it also envisioned evaluating concepts for transition from UDP to Bilateral Defense Plan (BDP) to Post-Conflict response.

The different military exercises such as the mechanized amphibious landing in Zambales, small boat raid in Palawan, combined arms live firing in Tarlac, special operations and martial arts in Cavite, artillery operations in Nueva Ecija, Helo Raid in Clark and BASA Airbase, and many others, have been conducted to improve interoperability between the two countries.

The United States Marine Corps troops are scheduled to return to Okinawa, Japan as the exercise events, particularly the engineering projects, are completed. Filipino Marines participating in the exercise will also return to their respective units with renewed vigor and strengthened capabilities.

Meanwhile, the local communities will have to enjoy the projects generated from the conduct of PHIBLEX.

The holding of PHIBLEX 2012 perpetuates a long and lasting partnership founded firmly on common heritage between freedom-loving countries committed to the preservation of liberty and democracy.

[1st Lt. Tindog is the Director of the Public Affairs Office of the Philippine Marine Corps.]

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