Philippine and United States armed forces are set to hold the 34th iteration of Balikatan from May 7 to 18 in multiple locations in Luzon, the US Embassy said. Prior to the exercise proper, Philippine and US forces began community engagement activities in Luzon.
“US and Filipino service members are working together to renovate five schools and conduct medical engagements with local residents in the opening days of the twelve-day military training activity,” the American embassy said.
“These community outreach projects mark the beginning of several information exchanges and live training events between the two militaries,” it added.
Balikatan is an annual US-Philippine multilateral military exercise focused on mutual defense, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.
The US Embassy said this year’s exercise will focus on interoperability training events designed to enhance the capabilities of both the U.S. and Philippine armed forces.
“The training will emphasize mutual defense operations so both nations can more effectively employ forces and provide assistance in the event of crises that endanger public health and safety,” it added.
“Multinational forces from the US, Philippines, Australia, and Japan will participate in all major training events, and the AFP has invited the United Kingdom to observe training for the mitigation of post-disaster suffering,” US Embassy said.