Latest Stories

Joint war games with US not about China, says Philippines


US JUMP JETS IN SUBIC Two US Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier ground attack aircraft sit on the flight deck of the USS Bonhomme Richard docked in Subic Bay on Monday. The assault ship is in the country for the RP-US amphibious landing exercise 2013. POOL PHOTO

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—The joint military exercises between the Philippines and the United States started in this former American naval base on Monday, but a top Philippine military official said the war games had nothing to do with the country’s conflict with China over disputed territories in the West Philippine (South China) Sea.

Officials from the Philippine and US armed forces held the opening ceremony for the 10-day Philippines-US Amphibious Landing Exercise (Phiblex) 2013 on the US helicopter carrier, USS Bonhomme Richard, which is docked here.

The ship, which is anchored next to the submarine USS Olympia, is joining Phiblex alongside other vessels from both countries.

Vice Adm. Alexander Pama, Philippine Navy flag officer in command, said the joint exercises “will enhance the interoperability of both our forces.”

Asked whether the territorial disputes with China over the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal and the Spratly Islands would figure in Phiblex, Pama said: “This will make us more prepared and enable both countries to work together, but scenarios like that were not included in the [planning or execution of the] joint exercises.”

Pama said Phiblex was an annual event and was not a direct response to the looming threat of China in the Asia-Pacific.

In his speech, US Marine Corps Brig. Gen Craig Timberlake, US exercise director, said Phiblex was aimed at improving the capability of Philippine and American troops and at strengthening ties between the two nations.

“[Phiblex operates on] one simple truth. Phiblex is designed to always make us better, [make] both nations better friends, better allies,” Timberlake said.

He said the Philippines was the US’ “closest and oldest ally” and they shared a common history. He noted that the two countries fought side by side” during World War II.

Today, Timberlake said, both the US and the Philippines were in the same situation “as we face common threats.” He, however, did not elaborate on the nature of the threats.

He said Phiblex would enable both countries to “respond to issues, whether those issues are humanitarian or disaster response… or national security.”

Timberlake said he had been visiting the Philippines since 1985, when he was a young officer.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: China , Defense , Foreign affairs , Global Nation , International relations , Marines , Military , Panatag Shoal , Philippines , US

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • 16 suffer burns in Batangas sugar factory accident
  • Angat level drops; cloud seeding set
  • Indigenous aspiration in Bangsamoro
  • Banahaw continues to lure pilgrims, trekkers
  • Passion of Christ moves survivors
  • Sports

  • Tottenham beats Fulham 3-1 in Premier League
  • Martino defends Messi, takes blame for Barca fail
  • Vettel hoping for resurgence at Chinese GP
  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Minnie Driver plays devastated mother to a stillborn child
  • Business

  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Learning by doing: pilgrimage of faith
  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • Marketplace