Turnbull visits Camp Aguinaldo, witnesses PH-Australia war game

Carmela Fonbuena

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Turnbull visits Camp Aguinaldo, witnesses PH-Australia war game
Filipino and Australian troops perform a training demonstration of enhanced counter-terrorism cooperation on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit

MANILA, Philippines – Australian Prime Minister Malcom visited the Philippine military headquarters, Camp Aguinaldo, on Monday, November 13, to witness a war game between troops of the Australian Defense Force (ADF) and their counterparts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

About 20 Filipino and Australian troops performed a training demonstration of enhanced counter-terrorism cooperation, simulating urban operations with counter improvised explosive devise (counter-IED) scenario.

Turnbull watched the simulation with AFP chief of staff General Rey Guerrero and Philippine Army chief Lietuenant General Rolando Bautista.

Turnbull is in the Philippines for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits. The Philippines is the chair of the ASEAN this year. 

A side trip to Camp Aguinaldo was an opportunity for Turnbull to visit Australian troops deployed in the country. 

The ADF has less than a hundred troops in the Philippines. Australia is one of only two countries with a visiting forces (VFA) agreement with the Philippines under a treaty ratified by the Philippine Senate in 2012. The other country is the US.

ASEAN SUMMIT. Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull is in the Philippines for the ASEAN Summit

Australian troops also join the Philippine and US militaries in the annual Balikatan war games. Australia also assisted the Philippine military in its recent battle with local terror groups that pledged allegiance to the international terrorist network Islamic State. 

Australia, along with US, flew its P3 Orion surveillance planes to locate the enemies in the battle zone. It also offered  to train Filipino troops in urban warfare and pledged donations for Marawi residents displaced by the war

In his ASEAN Summit opening speech on Monday morning, President Rodrigo Duterte highlighted the importance of international cooperation in fighting terrorism. (READ: Duterte opens ASEAN Summit with calls vs terrorism)

He cited the Philippine experience in Marawi City, where troops fought armed radicals for 5 months with the assistance of allies. – Rappler.com

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