Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Phl-US amphibious landing drills set next month

Around 3,000 Filipino and American soldiers will participate in the annual Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) to be held next month in various parts of the country.

1Lt. Cherryl Tindog, spokesperson of the Philippine Marine Corps, said the exercises will be held from Oct. 8 to 18 in Crow Valley in Tarlac, Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Ternate in Cavite, Subic in Zambales, and Palawan.

Tindog said 1,200 Filipino soldiers and 2,000 to 2,500 troops from the United States military will be involved in the event.

“The objective of PHIBLEX is to enhance our interoperability, improve our military relationship (with the US) and improve our disaster response capability,” she said.

Tindog said only humanitarian and civic action programs will be conducted in Palawan, a province facing the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Humanitarian activities in PHIBLEX include the construction of school buildings and distribution of school supplies to students in far-flung areas.

The West Philippine Sea is the subject of a territorial row among the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.

The Philippines is claiming several islets, shoals, reefs and sandbars in the Spratly group of islands in the West Philippine Sea.

China claims virtually the entire area while Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.

The opening ceremony of PHIBLEX will be held in Subic on board the USS Bonhomme Richard.

Tindog said boat raid, boat handling and jungle survival drills will be held in Ternate while amphibious assault training will be conducted in Crow Valley.

Participating soldiers are expected to undergo artillery exercises in Fort Magsaysay, the headquarters of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division.

Tindog said some US soldiers have arrived as early as last week to start engineering projects.

Personnel from all major services will participate in the PHIBLEX.

“The trainings are very holistic. We want to maximize the benefits we will obtain from he exercises,” Tindog said.-The Philippine Star (September 12, 2012 12:00AM)

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