Three Australian navy ships docked in Manila on Monday, September 27, to hold joint naval exercises with the Philippine Navy.
Three ships belonging to the Royal Australian Navy, namely Her Majesty’s Australian Ship Canberra III, Anzac, and Sirius docked in Manila on Monday, the Philippine Navy said in a press statement.
The Australian ships were part of the Indo-Pacific Endeavor (IPE) 2021.
The IPE is an annual naval exercise organized by the Australia’s Department of Defense to promote security and stability in the Indo-Pacific Region. The program involves bilateral and multilateral engagement, training, and capacity building.
For September, the Philippines would serve as Australia’s last spot for the IPE 2021. The exercises would focus on cooperative activities and at-sea interactions. These include what the Philippine Navy said were “workshops, seminars, and other virtual exchanges on crucial regional issues such as maritime security, women, peace and security, and humanitarian assistance.”
At least three officers of the Philippine Navy have joined the exercises. Captain Constancio Reyes serves as the task group’s deputy commander, accompanied by Lieutenant Chester Ian Ramos and Ensign Stacy Kaye Villanueva.
The joint naval exercises were the first interaction between Australia and the Philippines after the signing of the Australia, UK, and US (AUKUS) trilateral defense pact. The security pact is one of the biggest international agreements signed by the three superpowers in the past decade.
Recently, in August, the Philippines and Australia signed the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, which allowed the provision of logistical support during training and military exercises between the two countries.
The Philippines and Australia’s continued cooperation is enabled by the Status of Visiting Forces Agreement signed in 2012, which provides “framework for the presence of one country’s military forces in the other.” – Rappler.com