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EX Balikatan 19 underway

A major international military exercise in the Philippines, jointly hosted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and United States Indo-Pacific Command, launched from Manila yesterday.

Exercise Balikatan 19 is designed to enhance regional military cooperation and interoperability during times of disaster or humanitarian crisis. This year’s focus is the ability to respond effectively to humanitarian and civic assistance events and security operations in South East Asia.

The exercise also includes a range of military training and community relations activities, which involve Australian Defence Force (ADF) Special Forces, medical, engineering, and chaplaincy personnel.

This is the thirty-sixth year Balikatan will be staged and the sixth year of the ADF actively participating.

Chief of Joint Operations, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld said the Australian Defence Force’s ongoing support to the annual exercise underscores Australia’s commitment to regional security and stability.

“The exercise allows us to build our relationship with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States Indo-Pacific Command,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said.

“Through this partnership, we aim to increase our ability to coordinate a multilateral response to a disaster or humanitarian crisis in a complex and ever-evolving regional security environment.

“The United States, the Philippines and Australia’s long-standing relationship has resulted in a significant and ongoing contribution to regional security,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said.

Exercise Balikatan 19 concludes on 12 April 2019.

Photo: A RAAF P-3 Orion has provided valuable assistance to the Australian Army contingent and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during Exercise Balikatan 2018.

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