President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the 116th commemoration of the Balangiga massacre, in his speech stated that the United States somewhat redeemed itself when it helped the Philippines in its desire to be liberated from the Japanese occupation.
“Whether we like it or not, we were engaged here, challenged by the Japanese occupation and it was America who partly helped us, as an ally. I would not say they were our saviors, but they are our allies and they helped us,” the president who since the start of his administration to be very rhetoric and vocal against the Americans. The president also recognized the help extended and continues to provide the country in its fight against the ISIS- inspired militants in Marawi and in terrorism in general.
And it looks like, mutual defense allies are indeed following the president’s call for warmer ties with the United States. *
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson, Major Gen. Restituto Padilla, in a press briefing told media that there will be a total of 261 exercises for the year 2018 between Filipino and American militaries. This was brought about by the just-concluded Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board held in Hawaii last week.
Padilla did not elaborate on the exact activities but said it will include the usual expert exchanges, meetings, board exercises, consultations and continuing regular engagements like the annual "Balikatan" exercises.
Padilla said the bulk of next year's "Balikatan" games are on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter-terrorism exercises and some territorial defense type activities. (PNA)
Armed Forces chief General Eduardo Año hailed the United States as the Philippines' "number one ally" and announced a return of regular war games. Año, just returned from Hawaii where he met US Pacific Command chief Admiral Harry Harris last week, said Thursday the allies had agreed to increase joint military exercises for 2018 after they were scaled down this year.
Last Monday was the statrt for almost a thousand members of the Marines and sailors with the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade and their counterparts from the Armed Forces of the Philippines will participate in new joint exercises dubbed as Kamandag – the acronym for “Kaagapay ng mga Mandirigma ng Dagat” or Cooperation of Warriors of the Sea – at multiple locations in Luzon. The US embassy explains that this is to increase the counter terrorism capabilities through bilateral military exercises between the AFP and US troops.
Aside from reinforcing the decades-long alliance between the US and the Philippines, Kamandag is also intended to improve bilateral responsiveness to crises in the Asia-Pacific region and increase the overall readiness of troops from both countries.
Reports from philstar and PNA.gov.ph