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Limited US role in new Army, Navy exercises
The Philippine Army and Philippine Navy are launching their yearly exercises with limited United States involvement in line with President Duterte’s statement against holding war exercises with the US.
US Marine Corps/Cpl. Matthew Bragg, file

Limited US role in new Army, Navy exercises

AUDIOFILE - Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - November 16, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Army and Philippine Navy are launching their yearly exercises with limited United States involvement in line with President Duterte’s statement against holding war exercises with the US.

In the Army’s Balance Piston, an exercise that opened in Puerto Princesa City on Monday, only a handful of US Special Forces is taking part, according to Army spokesman Col. Benjamin Hao.

Balance Piston is a yearly big military engagement involving Filipino soldiers and US Special Forces in the country.

But this year’s joint training has been downgraded to a small unit exercise. Hao said only 30 to 40 Filipino soldiers are taking part in the military exercises, which run until Dec. 14.

“The annual training event is to test the basic war fighting skills of our soldiers. With the involvement of a handful of US Special Forces, we expect this will further improve relations between our armed forces,” Hao said.

The Army also scrapped the live fire drill for this year’s training. 

“We have scrapped the live fire drill in exchange for the marksmanship training that would be held inside military camps on Palawan,” Hao explained. 

PHILIPPINE ARMY AND PHILIPPINE NAVY
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