Phl, US to end Balikatan 2014
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - May 15, 2014 - 6:47pm

MANILA, Philippines - The 30th Balikatan military exercises between the Philippines and the United States (US) will end Friday with officials saying ing that the drills boosted the defense ties between the two countries.

The closing ceremony for the bilateral exercise will be held at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City at around 9 a.m.

Among the key personalities who are expected to attend the event are Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, US Embassy Chargé d' Affaires Brian Goldbeck, Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, Philippine exercise director Maj. Gen. Emeraldo Magnaye and US deputy exercise director Maj. Gen. Richard Simcock.

Lt. Annaleah Cazcarro, public affairs officer for the exercise, said the training boosted the interoperability of the two militaries.

“There are improvements when it comes to interoperability and of course the crisis planning of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and of course on how to react to maritime security (situations),” Cazcarro said in a phone interview.

Around 3,000 Filipino soldiers and 2,500 American military personnel participated in Balikatan 2014, which started May 5.

This year’s drills focused on maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, and humanitarian civic assistance.

Staff planning exercises were conducted in Camp Aguinaldo and in Western Command in Palawan, the province nearest to the disputed Spratly Islands.

Field training exercises were held in military camps in Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Crow Valley in Tarlac, and Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.

Live fire exercises

Around 700 Filipino soldiers and 300 US troops joined the combined arms and live-fire exercise (CALFEX) at the Crow Valley Gunnery Range in Capas, Tarlac.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri witnessed the execution of the final scenario- based raids, which sought to highlight the skills of the Philippine and US forces in combined operations.

The field training exercise is based on simulated realistic scenarios and included a helicopter raid, mechanized raid, motorized raid, and ground troop maneuvers.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato said CALFEX is the culmination of staff planning in Camp Aguinaldo and the Western Command headquarters.

The planning activities zeroed in on improving crisis action planning capability in maritime security and territorial defense operations.

Among the units that joined the exercise were the 20th Infantry Battalion, 31st Mechanized Company, 211th Marine Company, 511th Marine Weapons Company, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force, Artillery Company; and the Philippine Air Force Support Units.

The US contingent, meanwhile, consisted of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company Detachment. – Alexis Romero and Ronald Mendoza
 

AFFAIRES BRIAN GOLDBECK ALEXIS ROMERO AND RONALD MENDOZA ANNALEAH CAZCARRO ARMED FORCES ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES ARTILLERY COMPANY BALIKATAN CAMP AGUINALDO CAMP AGUINALDO AND THE WESTERN COMMAND CLARK AIR BASE COMBINED JOINT SPECIAL OPERATIONS TASK FORCE
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