Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) – Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) commander Lieutenant General Emmanuel Salamat will be the exercise director for Philippines for this year’s United States-Philippines Balikatan military exercises.
NOLCOM is headquartered at Camp Servillano Aquino, Tarlac City, Tarlac and responsible for security of central and northern Luzon including Scarborough Shoal and Philippine (Benham) Rise.
“Our exercises are geared towards inter-operability of forces. We exercise of our skills with our US counterparts. It’s what we do every year,” Lieutenant General Salamat said.
“We want to maintain our skills to be able to keep our readiness to counter extremism,” he added.
Humanitarian and civic operations under Balikatan 2018 started early April. American and Filipino troops together with Japanese and Australian troops will build 5 two-room, one-story school buildings in Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Cagayan and Isabela.
Exercise proper will be from May 7 to 18. This year’s Balikatan will focus on a variety of missions, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counterterrorism, and other combined military operations.
The exercise will also demonstrate cooperation and interoperability between the Philippines and the US, consistent with the Mutual Defense Treaty and Visiting Forces Agreement. This event highlights the two militaries continued commitment to train and share information to improve their ability to coordinate a multilateral response to crisis.
Sources: https://www.rappler.com/nation/201350-balikatan-2018-scarborough-duterte-emmanuel-salamat; https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/Balikatan