First PHL-US military exercises under Duterte admin to begin on May 8

UNTV News and Rescue

MANILA — The 33rd Balikatan exercises is set to begin on May 8. This is the first military exercise between Filipino and American soldiers under the Duterte administration.  The Armed Force of the Philippines (AFP) said some changes have been implemented.

Medyo masasabi natin na nagkaron ng refocus yung Balikatan exercises for this year. The refocus is more on HADR, Humanitarian Asisstance Disasters Response, Humanitarian and Civil Assistance HCA and yung counter terrorism,” Balikatan spokesman Maj. Celeste Frank Sayson said.

(We can somehow say that there is a refocus in the Balikatan exercises for this year. The refocus is more on HADR, humanitarian assistance disasters response, humanitarian and civil assistance HCA and the counter-terrorism.)

Among the activities to be held by the military this year are the urban search and rescue, civil military activities from the sea and disaster preparedness training.

The programs aim to prepare the troops in responding to the need of and extending assistance to the public during disasters and calamities.

There will be no live fire exercises unlike in the previous years.

Major Celeste Frank Sayson said the changes are aligned with the goals and strategic direction of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Ang gusto lang naman talagang mangyari ng Presidente ay yung Balikatan natin is naka-align sa kanyang mga programa, nakaalign sa kanyang gustong mangyari na everything that the Armed Forces will be doing will benefit the Filipino people and will benefit the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Maj. Sayson said.

(What the President wants to happen is for Balikatan be aligned with his programs; aligned with his goals is for everything that the armed forces will be doing will benefit the Filipino people and will benefit the armed forces of the Philippines.)

It can be recalled that the president announced last year that he wanted to stop the joint military exercises. But the president still permitted the conduct of the military exercises. — Leslie Longboen | UNTV News & Rescue

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