IRONCLAD ALLIANCE. Filipino and American soldiers train together during the live-fire drill at the Crow Valley Gunnery Range in Barangay Santa Juliana, Capas, Tarlac on March 31, 2022. The Philippine Army on Tuesday (July 5, 2022) said continuing exercises between Filipino and American troops highlight the strong relationship between the Philippines and the United States. (Photo courtesy of the Philippine Army)

MANILA – The Philippine Army (PA) on Tuesday night said continuing military exercises between the force and its American counterparts highlight the strong relations between the two nations.

"PA troops regularly train side by side with American soldiers in joint and combined military exercises, such as the annual 'Salaknib' and 'Balikatan'. 'Salaknib' is an annual exercise between PA and US Army Pacific (USARPAC) geared at enhancing readiness and tactical interoperability of both armies," Army spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad said in a statement, in commemoration of the 76th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Manila that formalized diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United States on July 4.

Trinidad added that the "Balikatan", a joint exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the US Indo Pacific Command, is aimed at strengthening tactics, techniques, and procedures covering a wide spectrum of military operations.

In 2013, the PA and USARPAC delegates forged terms of reference that created the executive steering group composed of key leaders of the two land forces.

Another cornerstone of the Philippines-US military alliance is the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which advances the implementation of the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) signed by both countries on Aug. 31, 1951.

The MDT laid the foundation for an ironclad alliance between Filipinos and American troops.

Manila and Washington DC also signed the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) in 1998, which provided a framework for access procedures covering US military personnel who enter Philippine territory.

The two countries also signed a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement in 2002 and established a Security Engagement Board in 2006.

PA Chief, Lt. Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr., earlier paid tribute to the “ironclad alliance” between the two nations.

“Over the years, the Philippine Army and the US Army Pacific have remained united through the long-standing bilateral relations in pursuit of the common goal of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region,” he said. (PNA)