ALLIED BALIKATAN EXERCISES IKINAKASA NA NG US, PHILIPPINES

IKINAKASA na ang isasagawang malakihang joint war exercises ng Pilipinas at United States (US) militaries na sasalihan ng ilang allied countries na gaganapin sa hilaga at kanlurang bahagi ng Pilipinas, ayon sa executive agent ng RP-US 2024 Balikatan Exercises na si Colonel Michael Logico kahapon.

“Batanes is one of the locations that we are considering in the execution of Balikatan,” pahayag ni Logico, bukod sa posibleng pagsasanay sa bahagi ng West Philippine Sea o Palawan, sa ginanap na pulong balitaan.

“We will also be doing maritime exercises west of Palawan and we will also be doing integrated air missile defense exercises in Central Luzon,” ani Logico.

Ayon kay Logico, hindi gaganapin ang Balikatan sa karaniwang training areas tulad ng Fort Magsaysay at Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base (CERAB).

“So now we are actually pushing out into key locations throughout the country, primarily in the north and also in the west,” aniya.

Nabatid na sasali sa nasabing sabayang pagsasanay ang militar ng France at Australia sa Balikatan maritime at land exercises.

Bukod sa United States forces mula sa US INDOPACOM, sasabak din ang Australian Defense Force at French Navy. “We have also sent our invitation to the Japanese Self Defense forces although right now, I have not yet confirmed if they have accepted the invitation to join us in the exercises.”

“In this Balikatan, we are also going for more inter-agency collaboration. So in previous exercises, it was just purely military to military. Ngayon, we are also going to involve other agencies in this exercise, primarily the PCG, PNP, and other invited participants for the cyberdefense and information exercises,” ani Logico.

Mas marami ring kalahok ang inimbitahan sa para sa cyber defense at information warfare exercises, bukod sa inimbitahang foreign observers.

Nabatid kay Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Colonel Francel Margareth Padilla, kasado na ang 39th iteration ng Balikatan Exercises sa ikatlong linggo ng Abril hanggang unang linggo ng Mayo, kung saan gagamit ng mga makabagong sandata ang AFP na kanilang nabili sa ilalim ng kanilang modernization program.

“The schedules include a command and control exercise or the C2X, humanitarian civic assistance projects and engagements and the series of field training events,” ani Padilla.

Magiging tampok sa nasabing pagsasanay ang gaganaping maritime strike exercise kung saan isang sea vessel ang magiging target na palulubugin gamit ang mga makabagong armas.

Samantala, inihayag ni Logico na hindi siya nababahala sa posibilidad na gagala o magmamasid ang China sa mga area na pagdarausan ng pagsasanay partikular sa karagatan, dahil inaasahan na nila ito.

“Not at all because it’s an expectation that we’ve been going through every single year.”

(JESSE KABEL RUIZ)

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