PH, US navies kick off annual exercises
MANILA, Philippines — The joint annual naval exercise between the United States and the Philippines kicked off on Monday to further improve interoperability and cooperation.
The Sama-sama 2023 exercise officially kicked off at the Philippine Navy headquarters in Manila, led by flag officer-in-command Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr. and Vice Admiral Karl Thomas, commander of the US 7th fleet.
This bilateral exercise will feature training and exercises at shore and sea to improve interoperability and cooperation between the two countries regarding maritime security operations, maritime situational awareness, logistics, and command and control.
The exercises will also see the participation of navies from Japan, United Kingdom, Canada, France, and Australia in subject matter expert exchanges and events related to humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR).
The New Zealand and Indonesian navies will join as observers.
“With this show of force and active engagement of our allies and partners, Sama Sama transcends mere military exercises,” Adaci said.
“It is a symbol of our enduring partnerships and our shared commitment to security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.”
For his part, Thomas said the participation of other countries in this exercise meant that they are interested in solving “mutual challenges.”
“We are all interested in maintaining the peace and security of this important region,” Thomas said during the speech.
“We are dependent on one another for our security, stability and that we are all striving for a peaceful coexistence,” he added.
Some 700 personnel will take part in various events in Metro Manila and Southern Luzon from October 2 to 13.
However, it is noticeable that the location of the exercises did not include the West Philippine Sea.
Adaci said that the exercises are “not necessarily intended for a particular adversary.”
Philippine Navy assets such as BRP Antonio Luna, AW109 naval helicopter, and a C-90 aircraft, among others, will be utilized throughout the exercise.