IN THE KNOW: Phiblex
The Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise (Phiblex) is one of the joint military exercises between the Philippines and the United States. This year’s edition is the 33rd of the drills aimed at improving interoperability of the participating forces’ amphibious assault capabilities.
Last year, more than a thousand Filipino and American troops took part in the Phiblex, which included joint humanitarian and disaster response exercises in Luzon and Palawan province.
Existing agreements—the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty and the 1999 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA)—have also allowed visits by US forces to the Philippines, including participation in the “Balikatan” (shoulder to shoulder) military exercises.
US soldiers arrived for the Balikatan exercise in 2000, the first since the ratification of the VFA. The annual joint military exercises are designed to serve as a venue for Philippine and US military forces to exchange combat expertise.
The last Balikatan was held in April with the participation of 5,000 US troops, 3,500 personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and 80 Australians.
It was also in April that the United States and the Philippines began joint patrols in the South China Sea under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.
Last week, despite President Duterte’s statement about asking US military forces to leave Mindanao, a group of American and Filipino soldiers visited officials of Ormoc City to discuss the possibility of holding joint military exercises there next year.
Capt. Louis Kalmar, humanitarian and civic assistance planner of the Philippine-US Balikatan program, said Balikatan teams planned to return to Ormoc in December to finalize plans for Balikatan 2017. Inquirer Research
Source: Inquirer Archives