US-Philippines war games start May 5
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - April 8, 2014 - 6:27pm

MANILA, Philippines - This year’s Balikatan military exercises between the Philippines and the United States (US) will start on May 5 amid tensions caused by the territorial row in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Lt. Annaleah Cazcarro, public affairs officer for the exercise, said around 3,000 Filipino troops and 2,500 US military personnel would join the drills to be held in various camps nationwide.

“Balikatan is a long-standing military activity between the US and Philippine militaries. This year's Balikatan strengthens the relationship between the two countries. They learn from us and we learn from them,” she told reporters in an interview Tuesday.

Cazcarro claimed that the exercises have nothing to do with the ongoing dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

“Balikatan has been planned before. They have no relationship,” she said.

Balikatan 2014, the 30th iteration of the bilateral exercise, will be held until May 16 and will focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

A maritime surveillance equipment demonstration will be conducted at the Naval Education and Training Command in San Antonio, Zambales.

Drills will also be held at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Clark Air Base in Pampanga; Marine Base Ternate in Cavite, and Crow Valley in Tarlac.

Participating troops will hold humanitarian assistance and disaster response staff exercises in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, near the West Philippine Sea.

Cazcarro said development projects would also be conducted in Legazpi City and in Tacloban, which was devastated by typhoon “Yolanda” last November.

ANNALEAH CAZCARRO BALIKATAN CAZCARRO CLARK AIR BASE CROW VALLEY FORT MAGSAYSAY LEGAZPI CITY MARINE BASE TERNATE NAVAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING COMMAND WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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