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Community activities kick off Balikatan exercises

/ 12:53 PM April 19, 2018
PH, US soldiers Casiguran 1

A Filipino soldier-dentist is assisted by an American soldier during a dental and medical mission at Dibacong Elementary School, Casiguran, Aurora province during the Balikatan exercises on May 15, 2017. INQUIRER PHOTO / NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

Filipino and American  soldiers have started community engagement activities in Luzon ahead of the official start of the Balikatan exercises next month.

The forces of both nations are working together to renovate five schools and conduct medical engagements with local residents in the opening days of the 12-day military activity, the US Embassy in Manila announced Thursday.

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“These community outreach projects mark the beginning of several information exchanges and live training events between the two militaries,” it added.

The Northern Luzon Command said the sites for the pre-Balikatan exercises are Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Cagayan and Isabela.

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The 34 iteration of Balikatan will be held from May 7 to 18 at several locations in Luzon. It is aimed at boosting the interoperability of both forces and enhance their capabilities.

This year’s exercises will focus on mutual defense, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Forces from Australia and Japan will also participate in all major training events. The United Kingdom was also invited to observe the training for the mitigation of post-disaster suffering, the embassy said. /cbb

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TAGS: Balikatan, Features, Northern Luzon Command, US military
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