'Balikatan', a venue for PH to demo best military assets

By Priam Nepomuceno

May 18, 2018, 3:59 pm

MANILA -- This year's "Balikatan" exercises gave the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) an opportunity to show and demonstrate some of its best military assets, a defense department official said Friday.

"This year's 'Balikatan' exercises also gave (the) AFP, the opportunity to (show) some of our best asset, like the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, the BRP Davao del Sur, armored personnel carriers like the M-113s. All these acquisitions are proof of the commitment to upgrade our military's capabilities," Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna said in his speech during the closing ceremony of "Balikatan" 2018.

Some 5,000 Filipino and 3,000 American soldiers participated in this year’s “Balikatan” activities that began mid-April, prior to the opening ceremony onMay 7. Troops from the Australian Defence Force and Japan Self-Defense Force also joined some of the exercises.

Their participation was under the ambit of the US alliance system.

"In the next 'Balikatan', we are sure to have more advanced assets to show the whole world," Luna said.

The annual "Balikatan" exercise, he said, is a manifestation that in the needs of involving security challenges, the United States and the Philippines continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder.

"Back in our friendship that goes way back in the Second World War, our troops will continue to (stand) together as friends, as partners, and as allies.

"This commitment to strengthen our long-standing security alliance, which has been the cornerstone for the stability and security, will always remain," he said. (With reports from Ericka Cirera, OJT/PNA)