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Philippines, US kick off 2023 Kamandag exercises

Kamandag exercise, Philippine Marine Corps, PHL-US ties

The Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) and United States Marine Corps on Thursday officially opened their bilateral military exercises dubbed Kaagapay ng mga Mandirigma ng Dagat or Kamandag.

Japan, the United Kingdom, and South Korea will also participate in the exercises set from November 9 to 20.

PMC commandant Major General Arturo Rojas said with the joint exercises, the participating troops are sending a powerful message to the world “especially to those who may seek to disrupt the peace.”

“Together, we send a powerful message to the world, especially to those who may seek to disrupt the peace: that our partnership is unbreakable, our resolve unyielding, and our commitment to defending our nations is always unwavering,” he said in his speech during the opening ceremony held at Naval Station Jose Francisco, Taguig City.

Among Kamandag’s training objectives is to improve coastal defense capability. In line with this, a coastal defense training will be conducted in Palawan.

Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr. said the exercises will upgrade the country’s capabilities to have a modern and multi-capable naval force.

“We also reaffirm our commitment to achieving the highest levels of proficiency and operational readiness of our forces so we can contribute significantly to our maritime nation's overall defense posture,” he said.

The main exercises will be held in the areas of Northern Luzon, Metro Manila, Cavite, Palawan, Zamboanga City, and Tawi-Tawi.

According to the PMC, Kamandag 2023 will enhance bilateral cooperation and interoperability among participating forces.

This will be done through tactical operations designed to capacitate combined forces in conducting emerging operating concepts.

The exercises also aim to enhance the troops’ capabilities in special operations.

A total of 2,749 troops will be participating in Kamandag, including 1,732 from the Philippines, 902 from the US, 57 from South Korea, 50 from Japan, and eight from the UK.  —KBK, GMA Integrated News