PHL troops urged to learn from US, Japan, Australia in Balikatan

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez on Monday told participating Filipino troops in this year’s “Balikatan” exercises to learn from their American, Australian and Japanese counterparts.

“I now urge the Filipino soldiers participating in this exercise to make the most of this opportunity to learn from and to teach your American, Australian,and Japanese counterparts,” Galvez said. Galvez also instructed participating AFP personnel to strengthen their relationship with the above-mentioned allies and partners.

“Work with them to identify the gaps in our increased inter-operability and competencies. Observe and learn from them that you may improve yourselves and your units,” the AFP chief stressed.

In this year’s “Balikatan” exercises, around 5,000 soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors from the AFP along with 3,000 coming the US Marines, Navy, Air Force and Special Operations Force will be participating in the two-week maneuevers which started May 7 and will end on May 18.

Around 20 personnel from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and 60 from the Australian Defence Forces will also participate as observers in the above-mentioned exercises.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said this year’s “Balikatan” will focus on inter-operability training to address traditional and non-traditional security concerns.

“Through this exercise, we hope to improve our counter-terrorism capabilities in order to build safer communities and work towards the eradication of global terror networks,” the defense chief disclosed.

“We hope that through this activity we will have a stronger teamwork while we endeavor to our common vision of developing long term cooperation and effective inter-operability between the Philippines and the United States and our allies,” he added. PNA