PH-US Balikatan 2014 ends
MANILA - The joint military exercises between Philippine and American forces concluded on Friday.
Over 3,000 Filipino and 2,500 American soldiers participated in the annual Balikatan war games, which started a week after the Philippines and the United States signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).
Among the objectives of this year's exercises were to strengthen maritime security and improve disaster response.
The staff exercises were held in Camp Aguinaldo and in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Command in Puerto Princesa. Bilateral field training events were held in AFP camps in Luzon.
Representatives from the Australian Defense Force also participated in an academic discussion and crisis action planning.
According to the AFP, the partnership between Philippine and US forces continues to be healthy, dynamic and beneficial.
The Balikatan 2014 highlights the unswerving commitment of both military forces towards a more secure Asia-Pacific region, it said.
"As we conclude this year's Balikatan Exercises, we look forward to more joint bilateral military exercises and undertakings that will help the AFP in coping with our ever evolving security environment and achieve our goal of a minimum credible defense system," Balikatan 2014 spokesperson Lieutenant Annaleah Cazcarro said.
The Balikatan 2014 officially ended today in a closing ceremony attended by high-ranking defense and military officials from the Philippines and US at the AFP Commissioned Officers Club.
Department of National Defense Undersecretary Honorio Asqueta represented Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin who presided over today's ceremony along with AFP Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista, US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Brian Goldbeck, BK14 Exercise Director for Philippines Major Gen. Emeraldo Magnaye, and his US counterpart Major Gen. Richard Simcock II, deputy commander of US Marine Corps Forces Pacific.