Aquino observes ‘Balikatan 2011’ exercises at Fort Magsaysay

April 14, 2011 12:55 am 

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija, April 13 — President Benigno S. Aquino III witnessed the military activities here under the “Balikatan 2011” focusing on revitalizing the inter-operability of the Philippines and United States military forces in post-conflict response through the conduct of disaster rehabilitation and rural development projects.

Upon his arrival, President Aquino was welcomed by Hon. Leslie Bassett, Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy, Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, Commander of the US forces, Col. Manuel Ramos, Commander of Combined Armed Forces (CARFOR)-Philippine side and Col. Anthony Camacho, CARFOR Commander-US side.

The Chief Executive was immediately ushered to his designated seat at the Range 2 of the military camp to observe the exercises, which include a convoy live firing and mass casualty evacuation demonstration activities by the elements of the CARFOR of the Philippine Army and United States Army.

Also in attendance were Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. and Presidential Communications and Strategic Planning Office Secretary Ramon Carandang.

The 2011 “Balikatan Exercises” started on April 5 and will run until April 15. It is the 27th in the series of bilateral exercises conducted every year to serve as venue for joint and combined training between the Philippines and United States military forces.

The “Balikatan Exercises 2011” was officially opened in ceremonies held at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo. The military exercises will include medical and dental missions, field training exercises and explosive ordinance training.

It also includes Engineering Civic Action Program (ENCAP), Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP), Dental Civic Action Program, Veterinary Civic Action Program (VETCAP), and Community Relations (ComRel) activities to be conducted in Central Luzon.

Around 800 people composed of RP-US Armed Forces, members of the Philippine Commission For Visiting Forces Agreement, officers from the US Embassy, Joint US Military Assistance Group, AFP, Philippine Army, 7th Infantry Division (ID) and Southern Command (SOCOM), International Observers and other guests graced the event. (PNA)



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