Balikatan to focus on coping with manmade calamities
This year’s Balikatan exercise, which opens on Monday, will focus on mutual defense, counter terrorism and humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR), a military official said Thursday.
“The focus of Balikatan is mutual defense because Balikatan is more on interoperability of both forces and then counter terrorism and HADR,” Lt. Liezl Vidallon, Balikatan public affairs director said.
Vidallon said HADR exercises will center on coping with man-made calamities.
“Every year, we are trying to level up the training, for example the HADR training, last year it was only focus on natural calamity. So this year not only natural calamity but of course preparation for manmade (calamity),” Vidallon said.
“For example, if there is chemical attack that is the focus of our training now,” she added.
In an advisory issued Thursday, Vidallion said there are three Balikatan activities open for media coverage and this includes opening and closing ceremonies at the AFP headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on May 7 and 18, 2018.
The other activity is the amphibious landing exercise at the Naval Education Training Command in San Antonio, Zambales on May 9.
Vidallon did not give more details about the exercise, number of its participants and assets that will be used by the United States and Philippines.
She said the Japanese Self Defense Force and Australia will be observers. Robina Asido/DMS