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400 Philippines, US soldiers finish training exercises

Michael Punongbayan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Four hundred soldiers from the Philippine and US armies have completed three-week joint training exercises in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija.

The Philippine-US “Salaknib” Exercise 2021 at Fort Ramon Magsaysay ended on Saturday.

This year’s bilateral exercises consisted of 15 training events including urban operations, intelligence, combat engineer operations and indirect fire as well as medical planning, bomb-countering, military police and K-9 operations, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense, according to Col. Ramon Zagala, spokesman for the Philippine Army.

“Salaknib aims to develop the Philippine Army’s capability by undergoing training in various warfighting functions, all geared to achieving combined arms approach in any type of mission,” Zagala said.

After the training, soldiers from both countries thanked each other for the opportunity, which was conducted amid a raging pandemic.

“With the continuation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), both armies expect to continue holding exercises in the coming years,” Zagala said.

Following a meeting with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last week, President Duterte scrapped his plan to terminate the VFA between the Philippines and the US.

RAMON MAGSAYSAY
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