8,900 US and PH troops join forces for Balikatan | Inquirer News
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8,900 US and PH troops join forces for Balikatan

/ 08:08 PM March 22, 2022
 U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363 (VMM-363), 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, arrive at Subic Bay International Airport ahead of Balikatan 22 in the Philippines.

U.S. Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363 (VMM-363), 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, arrive at Subic Bay International Airport ahead of Balikatan 22 in the Philippines. PHOTOS FROM US EMBASSY

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 8,900 members of the Philippine and American military will join forces for the upcoming Balikatan exercises this year, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Tuesday.

The largest military exercises of the two longtime allies will take place over Luzon from March 28 to April 8, the AFP said in a statement.

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AFP said some 3,800 military personnel and 5,100 U.S. military forces will train to “to expand and advance shared tactics, techniques, and procedures that strengthen our response capabilities and readiness for real-world challenges,” according to Major General Jay Bargeron, 3rd Marine Division Commanding General.

This year’s Balikatan is much bigger than 2021, which only saw some 1,000 Filipino and American troops.

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READ: Only 1,000 troops join scaled-down Balikatan

The US forces will maintain social distancing and wearing of face masks during exercises “as operationally feasible,” according to AFP.

Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Air Force 18th Civil Engineer Group, 18th Wing, work together on construction efforts ahead of Balikatan 22 at Masi Elementary School, Rizal, Cagayan.

Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Air Force 18th Civil Engineer Group, 18th Wing, work together on construction efforts ahead of Balikatan 22 at Masi Elementary School, Rizal, Cagayan.

For his part, US Major General Charlton Sean Gaerlan, AFP Exercise Director said the Balikatan is a testament to the strength of the security relationship of two countries, adding that the alliance “remains a key source of strength and stability” in the Indo-Pacific region.

“The experience gained in the exercise complements our security cooperation endeavors and will help to enhance existing mutual security efforts,” Gaerlan said.

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