US planes in PH for maritime security training
The US planes sighted in Clark Air Base recently were part of a bilateral training between the US and the Philippines, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri said on Tuesday.
During the delivery of brand new FA-50 fighter jets from South Korea on Saturday, members of the media spotted a P-8A Poseidon, the United States’ most advanced spy plane, and a C-130 at the runway.
“It is part of the maritime security bilateral training between our forces and the US forces so that’s why they are there,” Iriberri said in a press conference at Camp Aguinaldo.
He was quick to add that it was part of the activities approved by the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board but couldn’t immediately say, however, the duration of the training.
The training was also not directed to the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) dispute, he said.
“It’s a continuing trianing like Balikatan, Phiblex. Marami tayong special operations forces so ito Marsec (maritime security) training. It is not directed against any country or activity. It is just for the purpose of upgrading and the capability of the Armed Forces,” Iriberri said.
The US Navy conducted surveillance missions in the South China thrice this year that took off from Clark Air Base. The first one was the deployment of the P-8A Poseidon, the first in Asia, in February; the second was the secret surveillance mission where the US received warnings from the Chinese Navy, and the third was the visit of US Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift in July. RC
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