PHL, US, Japan kick off drills at Subic Bay

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By Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

NAVAL and marine troops from the Philippines, the United States, and Japan had started a joint military exercises on Monday, Oct. 1, at Subic Bay.

Troops from these countries will participate in the drills dubbed as “Kaagapay ng mga Mandirigma ng Dagat” or “Cooperation of Warriors of the Sea” (KAMANDAG) which will run until Oct. 10.

The military exercises aim to enhance cooperation and interoperability between the Philippines, the US, and Japan.

Now on its second year, the drills will focus on counterterrorism, live fire training, jungle survival training, and combat lifesaving, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

“In its first iteration last year, KAMANDAG gave rise to many inaugural advancements between our militaries,” said Brig. Gen. Chris A. McPhillips, 3d US Marine Expeditionary Brigade Commanding General.

He added, “I’m looking forward to all that we’re going to achieve together this year.”

The US and Philippine troops will also be involved in community projects in Ternate, Cavite, such as construction projects for some schools. Military medical teams are also expected to give lessons on lifesaving skills and dental hygiene.

Last week, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the US Indo-Pacific Command signed an agreement during the 2018 Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board meeting that aims to strengthen the defense and security cooperation between the two countries.