36th Balikatan Exercise ends
MANILA – Military personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the United States Armed Forces ended the 36th Balikatan Exercise today with a simply program at the General Headquarters at Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
“The successful conduct of this year’s Balikatan Exercise 36-2021 has definitely brought us a step closer towards our goal of capacitating our forces, and as such, will consequently contribute to peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific region,” said AFP Chief of Staff General Cirilito Sobejana.
General Sobejana had Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, U.S. Embassy in the Philippines Chargé d’Affaires John Law, Major General Edgard Arevalo, Commanding General of the AFP Education Training and Doctrine Command and this year’s Exercise Director, Brigadier General Fernando Reyeg, Assistance Deputy Chief of Staff for Training and Education and Asst. Exercise Director, Colonel Aaron Brunk of the U.S. III Marine Expeditionary Force, Officer-In-Charge for Exercise Support Group as guests.
Major General Arevalo said despite the difficulties brought by COVID-19 pandemic, both Filipino and American forces achieved the objectives of this year’s Balikatan Exercise which include “training together on defense and security efforts, leveraging on the capability, experience and strength of both militaries’ longstanding friendship.”
“Balikatan showcases the strength and resolve of the Philippines-U.S. alliance,” said U.S. Embassy Officer-In-Charge John Law. He added the exercises demonstrate and improve the ability to jointly respond to crises.
“But training is never over. We will continue to advance our military-to-military partnership in pursuit of our shared commitment to mutual defense in a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he further said.
Major General Arevalo said the participants benefitted from trainings, exchange of knowledge, and cooperative activities aimed at enhancing capabilities.
“Allow me to convey my gratitude to the U.S. government, represented here by Mr. John Law, for its unwavering support to this annual exercise. I am likewise grateful for your constant and continued assurance of the ironclad commitment to our Mutual Defense Treaty,” said Defense Secretary Lorenzana. (Melo M. Acuña)
Filipino and American military and Defense officials at the 36th Balikatan closing exercises at Camp Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City late Friday morning. (AFP PIO Photos)