US, PH joint military exercises focused on humanitarian aid, disaster response
By Fat Reyes
Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
MANILA, Philippines—Members of the United States Pacific Command and the Philippine military will conduct joint exercises to strengthen humanitarian assistance and disaster response missions as part of the annual PH-US Amphibious Landing Exercise, the US embassy in Manila announced Tuesday.
Philblex 13, the 29th of the continuing series of joint exercises designed to promote regional peace and security by ensuring interoperability and readiness of Philippine and US military forces, would be held from October 8 – 18, the embassy said.
It noted that majority of the activities this year would be held in Zambales. It added that staff planning exercises focusing on humanitarian assistance and disaster response and two humanitarian and civic assistance projects would also occur in Palawan.
“Training will consist of a staff planning exercise, a static aircraft display, multiple field training exercises (FTX), and humanitarian and civic assistance (HCA) projects to include medical, dental, and engineering projects,” it said.
It also quoted US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr as saying that the exercises strengthen and deepen the relationships not only between the two countries’ militaries but communities as well.
“This year’s exercise provides an opportunity for our military service members and their Philippine counterparts to train side-by-side on many capabilities, particularly humanitarian assistance and disaster response, which are critical in the Ring of Fire,” Thomas was quoted as saying.
It said that about 2,600 US personnel and over 1,200 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines from all services were expected to participate in the exercise.
From the USAID Website:
The Philippines is highly prone to natural disasters and joint efforts by USAID and U.S. military forces have been a hallmark of the U.S. responses to major disasters for more than two decades. From the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo to the 2006 devastation of Super Typhoon Durian in the Bicol Region and mudslides in Leyte Province, USAID has worked with the U.S. Military
- to purchase and deliver relief supplies
- conduct rescue operations, and
- transport the injured to medical facilities.
When disasters are not imminent, USAID and JUSMAG meet in numerous joint disaster planning forums, often with Philippine government participation, to learn from past experiences and improve future responses.