Around 1,800 US, PH marines join annual coastal defense drills | Global News

Around 1,800 US, PH marines join annual coastal defense drills

/ 09:24 PM November 03, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Around 1,800 marine service members from the Philippines and the United States will join forces for the annual coastal defense drills to be held in several parts of the country.

The seventh iteration of bilateral marine exercises dubbed as “Kamandag” (Tagalog word for venom) will be held on Nov. 9 until Nov. 20.

Joined by approximately 950 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and 850 members of Marine Rotational Force-Southeast Asia (MRF-SEA), the drills will be conducted at various training sites throughout Luzon, Batanes, Zamboanga, Tawi-Tawi, and Palawan.


Also, service members from Japan and South Korea will join the exercise, while forces from the United Kingdom will participate as observers.


Participating forces will conduct littoral search and rescue, coastal defense training, and amphibious operations, among others.

Brigadier General Jimmy Larida, director of the Philippine Marine Corps’s (PMC) exercise directorate headquarters, said he is confident that the exercise “will not only strengthen our operational capabilities but will also foster a sense of trust and mutual understanding among our forces.”

For his part, US Marine Corps Col. Thomas Siverts, who is the commanding officer of the MRF-SEA, said the annual drills are a testament to Washington’s dedication to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“This seventh iteration is historic for many reasons,” Siverts said, noting the “sheer scope” of the Kamandag exercise and the MRF-SEA taking the lead on all US Marine forces during the drills.

“We’re leading and improving interoperability alongside the very same [PMC] counterparts,” he also said.

Kamandag, which stands for “Kaagapay ng mga Mandirigma Ng Dagat” (Cooperation of Warriors of the Sea), has been conducted by the two countries since 2016.


Last July, the biggest-ever military drills between the marine service members of both countries were held.

Dubbed Marine Aviation Support Activity (Masa), the maritime exercises were joined by over 2,700 troops from both countries.

These war games are in line with the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between Manila and Washington.

Signed on August 30, 1951, the MDT states that both nations would support each other if an external party attacked one of them.


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TAGS: Defense, drills, marine

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