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PHL-US war games in April to include personnel from ASEAN, other nations

Some 6,800 Philippine and United States forces will hold the regular "Balikatan" combined military exercises from April 16 to 27, the US Embassy said Wednesday. For the first time, the war games will include "multilateral engagement" from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and "partner nations".
 
"I’m delighted to announce the United States’ participation in the 28th exercise of Balikatan.  The longevity of this bilateral exercise speaks to the health of our alliance as we stand shoulder-to-shoulder next to our Philippine allies," US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. said.

"This exercise will build meaningful relationships not only between our militaries, but also among communities and first responders,” Thomas added.

According to the US Embassy, 4,500 US personnel and 2,300 Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel from all the services are expected participate in the exercise.
 
It added this year's exercise is unique in that it is the first time that Balikatan will include multilateral engagement.
 
"An additional 20 participants from ASEAN and 15 colleagues from partner nations plan to contribute to the CPX (command post exercise). In addition 385 local health professionals will support the HCA (humanitarian/civil assistance) activities," it said.
 
Balikatan is a regularly scheduled multiservice combined exercise hosted annually by the Philippines.
 
This year's edition of the exercise is the 28th iteration in a continuing series of exercises designed to promote regional peace and security by ensuring interoperability and readiness of Philippine and US forces, the US Embassy said.

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ELR | GMA News Online | March 7, 2012 7:40pm | Article Link

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