U.S. forces arrive in PH for Balikatan military exercises
MANILA, Philippines – United States forces have arrived in the Philippines for the annual Balikatan military exercises, the military announced.
A military spokesperson said the Americans, on Thursday, April 19, started visiting parts of Luzon to conduct activities for community engagement.
"Balikatan, which formally opens on May 7, features humanitarian civic action activities in pre-selected areas in Cagayan and Central Luzon. They are working together to construct a two-room school building in 5 different sites in the provinces of Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Cagayan, and Isabela," said Lieutenant Liezl Vidallon, a spokesperson for the Balikatan exercises.
Vidallon added that other activities will be held, including medical missions and training with local government units.
This year's Balikatan exercises will focus on mutual defense, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and counterterrorism.
The annual activity, to be held for the 34th time, is meant to enhance the interoperability of the US and Philippine militaries that have a Mutual Defense Treaty. (READ: Duterte's pivot to China won't be easy for Americanized PH military)
Other allies including Australia and Japan are expected to participate in the exercises. – Rappler.com