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Philippine and US forces will hold amphibious landing exercises from September 29 to October 10 in Palawan and Luzon to bolster coordination between the two countries in regional issues and humanitarian disasters.
The yearly Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) will see the participation of the Philippine Navy and Marine Corps as well as US Marines and sailors of 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Commander, Task Force 76, the US Embassy in Manila said.
"PHIBLEX increases the teamwork between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the U.S. Marine air-ground task force, and improves the bilateral response to regional issues, humanitarian disasters and maritime-security needs within the Asia-Pacific region," the embassy said.
It said some 3,500 US service members based in Okinawa, Japan, and the US will work "shoulder-to-shoulder" with 1,200 Philippine sailors and Marines conducting:
- a command post exercise
- field training exercises, which include small arms and artillery live-fire training
- amphibious operations
- ship-to-shore movement
- combined arms training
- civil-military operations
- humanitarian and civic assistance projects.
US Marines and sailors started arriving last week today to start preparations for the follow-on forces and the civil-military operations to benefit Filipinos living near the training areas.
"These benefits include providing free medical and dental treatment to local citizens while completing engineering and construction projects that will provide additional classrooms and necessities to the community," it said.
This year's focus seeks to boost the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ capability to conduct planning and effective execution of bilateral maritime security and territorial defense operations.
"Field training exercises will provide the Philippine and U.S. Marine units multiple opportunities to continue to improve their skills while sharing best practices and enhancing an already high level of cohesion," the embassy said.
It added Philippine and US forces will conduct humanitarian and civic assistance projects, including engineering civic action projects that will improve local infrastructure, and cooperative health engagements to share medical best practices.
They will also help the local Filipino medical community with treating patients.
"Bilateral Philippine-U.S. military training opportunities such as PHIBLEX 15 fortify our strong foundation of interoperability and enrich the relationship we have across a range of military operations — from disaster relief, to complex expeditionary maneuvers," the embassy said. —Joel Locsin/KG, GMA News