AFP stages war games
MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines kicked off a unilateral joint exercise among its major branch services on Monday to prepare troops to collectively respond to external attacks.
The AFP Joint Exercise Dagat-Langit-Lupa drills from November 6 -17 will involve 1,500 active and reserve forces from the Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Navy, Philippine Marines, AFP Special Operations Command, and AFP Cyber Group across northern Luzon. One of the highlights include a live fire drill in Burgos, Ilocos Norte, facing the West Philippine Sea and close to Taiwan.
Both the South China Sea and Taiwan have seen increased Chinese assertiveness in recent months.
“We have to take this seriously because we can face a formidable competitor or adversary anytime in the future,” AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said in his speech at the opening ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo.
The military exercises will also include a small contingent from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine National Police.
Unity of command
“In the event of a national emergency — man-made or natural — the PNP and PCG will be under the command of the chief of staff of the AFP. This is to ensure unity of command among uniformed services,” Brawner said.
The exercise director, Maj. Gen. Marvin Licudine, said the drill scenarios were anchored on the “emerging challenges in connection to addressing different AFP defense mission areas, particularly on territorial defense operations and external defense.”
He stressed the need to ensure preparedness as the operational environment is “rapidly changing,” given the ongoing Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas wars.
“These global shifts may raise tensions in East Asia and Southeast Asia, and any conflict within this region would see the likelihood of our country being involved,” Licudine said.