'Balikatan 2019' commitment to Philippine-US alliance

'Balikatan 2019' commitment to Philippine-US alliance



The annual Balikatan (shoulder to shoulder) or joint military exercises will be on its 35th year.
United States Ambassador to the Philippines  Sung Kim calling it a “testament to our mutual commitment to the US-Philippine alliance.”
Speaking about its importance at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon city, Kim said the importance of the military exercise from April 1 to April 12 and in previous years extends far beyond the interoperability of military forces of both countries.

 US Ambassador Sung Kim, AFP chief Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. and Brig. Gen. Christopher McPhillips of the US Marines link arms during the opening ceremony of the joint US-Philippine military exercise dubbed ‘Balikatan 2019’ at Camp Aguinaldo (photo credit to Philstar)

“It links us together on a personal level, fortifying friendships and better camaraderie from the lowest levels up to the leadership ranks,” Kim said.
“The relationships, skills and cooperation that our nations build here will have significant implications for the safety and security of the Philippines and the whole Indo-Pacific region, and Australia’s participation makes this even more meaningful,” he added.

There will be 4,000 soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who will join around 3,500 American soldiers and some 50 Australian soldiers in this year’s Balikatan military exercises.
Ambassador Kim said the annual Balikatan will strengthen the armed forces of both countries, improve interoperability and facilitate a robust exchange of ideas and best practices.  
“Our militaries will spend the next two weeks working shoulder to shoulder, honing their skills in key areas such as counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” Kim said. 
“So I’m proud to be a part of the 35th iteration of Balikatan, we are honored to contribute to our special alliance, as friends, partners and allies. We are not only protecting our own shared security but also contributing greatly to the stability and prosperity throughout the Indo-Pacific region,” Kim added. 
AFP chief Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr. had the same sentiments that of the US ambassador, noting that the exercise “is a testament of our enduring commitment to our defense partnership.” 
“Every year when our troops train together and hurdle developed scenarios, in a way we actually relive the times when Filipinos and American soldiers fought side by side in defense of peace, freedom and democracy,” he said. 


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