Balikatan 2020 canceled due to COVID-19
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY –– The Balikatan exercises scheduled for May 4 to 15 this year has been canceled due to health and safety concerns of the participating forces amid the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a press release, the United States Indo-Pacific Command based in Hawaii said the cancelation followed international travel restrictions imposed by the US Department of Defense as well as the Philippines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In light of the extraordinary circumstances surrounding COVID-19 pandemic and in the best interest of the health and safety of both countries’ forces, it is prudent to cancel Balikatan 2020,” said Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command.
“We remain deeply committed to our long-standing Alliance and friendship,” Davidson added.
The annual Balikatan brings US forces into the country for military exercises with Filipino troops, with participation from Australia.
It was thought that the May exercises would be the last one after the Philippine government terminated the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US.
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