The Philippine Army (PA) and Republic of Korea Army (ROKA) saw the need for cooperation and training exchanges on counter-terrorism and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) in the future during the 11th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs (IPACC) Conference held in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday, Sept. 9, 2019.
The PA Commanding General Macairog S. Alberto met with the Chief of Staff of the ROKA Gen. Suh, Wook during the conference, wherein they discussed the threat of terrorism and the role of the military in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR). The two agreed that mutual cooperation and exchanges between the two armies must not only be on counter-terrorism but HADR as well.
Alberto explained during the bilateral meeting that there are foreign terrorists in the Philippines. Terrorist groups cross political boundaries in order to reach their goal, giving rise to the need for strong and effective multilateral and multinational cooperation against this threat which is a concern for all the armies in the Indo-Pacific region.
On the other hand, Suh expressed ROKA’s interest to learn from the PA’s experience on civilian and military cooperation during HADR. Alberto shared the vital role of strong first responders, government agencies and the civilian sector in disaster response.
Suh also discussed the long history of the Philippine and South Korean relations that started when the Army sent its own soldiers in Korea to fight to on their side during the Korean War in the 1950s.
“As the role of the Philippine Army changes from addressing traditional threats to unconventional ones like terrorism and natural disasters, we open the organization to to more mutual cooperation and exchanges with our foreign counterparts. This ensures that we are able to share knowledge with our neighbors as well as improve our capability to better address current threats and prepare for emerging ones,” said Lt. Col. Ramon P. Zagala, Army spokesperson. PHILIPPINE ARMY