PH Army gears up for biggest-ever drills on 'external threats'

PH Army gears up for biggest-ever drills on ‘external threats’

/ 06:30 PM February 15, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Army is now gearing up for its biggest-ever drills in line with the military’s shift of focus from internal security to external defense operations.

Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Roy Galido said its first-ever Army-wide Combined Arms Training Exercise (Catex) “Katihan” will be conducted next month.

The Catex Katihan, which will be held in Camp O’Donnell in Capas, Tarlac on March 11, will involve around 4,000 to 5,000 troops coming from Army units in Visayas and Mindanao.


“We have realized that, indeed, we, the Army, have been very busy with internal threats, and more of our capabilities were focused on defeating internal threats,” Galido said in a press conference in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.


“Preparation for an external threat is something,” Galido said. “Thus, we are investing heavily in training for a scenario of an external threat.”

Galido said this upcoming drill seeks to gauge Army’s capabilities and realize potential gaps it may encounter.

“It is only through simulating scenarios that we will be able to understand the gaps we will be experiencing,” Galido also said.

Meanwhile, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will also witness the opening ceremony of the military exercise, according to Galido.

The 39th iteration of joint military drills between the Philippines and the United States in April will also be the biggest ever, but no details have been provided as of yet.

The Philippine military is still dealing with the communist insurgency nationwide and jihadists primarily in Mindanao.


But the military said the New People’s Army has significantly weakened, while terrorist groups in Mindanao like the Islamic State-linked Daulah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf Group are also diminishing.

READ: Padilla: AFP vows to eliminate NPA by end of 2024 

All eyes are now on the dispute between Manila and Beijing in the West Philippine Sea, with maritime activities in Ayungin Shoal and Scarborough Shoal becoming the flashpoint of tension between both countries.

The Philippines also ordered the increase of military presence and development of military structures in Batanes, the northernmost island province facing Taiwan, while giving the United States access to its three military bases in the northern parts of the country near Taipei.

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READ: Batanes residents urged to enlist as Army reservists

TAGS: Army, drills

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