PH, US troops start army drills in Palawan
Elite units from the Philippine Army and their US counterparts will hold a month-long joint exercises aimed to enhance anti-terror operations and war-fighting abilities.
The Exercise Balance Piston 16-4 will start on Wednesday and end on December 14 in Palawan, Army spokesperson Col. Benjamin Hao told reporters on Tuesday.
“Sa Philippine Army we are going to send around 30 to 40 personnel, sa US hindi ko ma-announce kung ilan… Na-adjust yung start ng Balance Piston dahil na-delay yung arrival ng mga Amerikano but matutuloy na ngayon,” he said.
There will also be no live-firing exercises except for the marksmanship training inside the camp, in line with the guidance from the higher headquarters.
“Both armed forces agreed na tanggalin yung live-firing….Nagkasundo yung both parties so wala namang problema sa amin. Tuloy pa rin kami. Ang army naman eh marami pa rin kaming matutunan sa joint exercises,” Hao said.
Other training events under the joint exercises include subject matter expert exchange on human rights, tactical combat casualty care, marksmanship, small unit tactics in a riverine/coastal environment, maritime interdiction, over the beach, combat swimmer operations, and air operations mission planning.
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the continuation of joint drills with US forces amid his pronouncements that he will break away from the US, but the number of drills would be reduced and would focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster response, the defense department said last week.
The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement signed in 2014, which will allow the rotation of more US troops and assets in the country, was also approved by the President. TVJ
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