Army eyes more defense cooperation with Vietnam
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Army is eyeing more security cooperation, particularly in humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) activities, with the Vietnamese People’s Army (VPA).
Army chief Lt. Gen. Andres Centino met on Monday with Vietnamese defense attaché Senior Col. Nguyen Van Son at Fort Bonifacio to discuss cooperative activities as part of the Philippine Army’s international defense and security engagements program.
The Army currently has defense and security engagements with over 20 countries worldwide.
Part of the discussion focused on possible engagements with the VPA to build the reserve corps and to enhance the two armies’ HADR capabilities.
Centino said: “The Philippine Army is committed to sustaining cooperation mechanisms and activities with the VPA, particularly on technology transfers and information exchanges.”
“The Philippine Army recognizes the need to sustain and enhance strategic partnerships with our [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] defense partners to deal with the fast-evolving security landscape in our region effectively,” he added.
Although historians trace Philippine-Vietnamese relations to pre-Hispanic times, official relations started only in 1976 because of the Vietnam War.
But bilateral relations have improved markedly, particularly in 2011 when Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang made a state visit to the Philippines that resulted in four agreements in naval, coast guard, and tourism concerns.
Meanwhile, Army reservists, including health-care workers, demonstrated their HADR capability on Tuesday in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.
Some 40 reservists of the 1502nd Ready Reserve Infantry Battalion under the 1502nd Community Defense Center (CDC) worked with the Agusan del Sur Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, the Office of Civil Defense, and the private sector.
The commander of the 1502nd CDC Maj. Marlon Baraga gave assurances that the Army reservist battalion is constantly boosting its capabilities.
He pointed out that the battalion reservists undergo courses on basic life support, incident command system, and water search and rescue training.
Centino commended the reserve units for their “steadfast commitment in upgrading their disaster-response capabilities.”
He said, “The Philippine Army leadership is committed to the development of a capable and mobilizable reserve force that will effectively complement our regular troops.”
The Army currently has over 45,000 ready reserves and 681,000 standby reserves who have been performing HADR and other non-combat missions.
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