US-Philippines 'Balikatan' war games to start in April-A A +A
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
MANILA -- The annual Balikatan exercises between the Philippines and United States Armed Forces will take place from April 5 to 17, the United States Embassy in Manila said Tuesday.
Balikatan is an annual Philippines-US military bilateral training exercise and humanitarian assistance engagement, the embassy said in a statement.
This year, members of the Philippines and US armed forces will undertake joint humanitarian assistance projects in communities in Zambales province.
In mid-March, preliminary works will begin on community infrastructure projects, the embassy said.
"The Balikatan series of exercises focuses on training both the US and Philippines armed forces to provide relief and assistance in the event of natural disasters and other crises that endanger public health and safety," the embassy added.
Aside from the infrastructure projects in Zambales, armed forces of both countries will also conduct combined staff exercises and field training in Camp O'Donnell, Crow Valley, Subic Bay and Fort Magsaysay "to improve interoperability and contingency planning."
Balikatan 2013 is the 29th iteration of this annual exercise.
This year, the Philippines and the United States have invited a small number of personnel from other partner nations in the region to attend a portion of the exercise.
"Balikatan" in English means "shoulder-to-shoulder."
The embassy said that the word "characterizes the spirit of the exercise and the Philippines-US alliance." (CVB/Sunnex)