MANILA - The United States Navy and Marine Corps have teamed up with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to train in this year's marine exercises amid rising tensions in the region, the US Embassy said on Friday.
The Marine Exercise (MAREX) 2022, the embassy said in a statement, aims to boost maritime defense and security, and integrate Filipinos during their planning and execution. It started on Thursday and will end on Feb. 2.
Among the events lined up for the exercises are the following:
- Amphibious assault coordination and execution
- Expert exchanges
- Integrated maritime operations, search and rescue, tactical maneuvering
"During MAREX 22, the US and the Philippines will conduct maritime operations training to boost their joint ability to enhance mutual defense capabilities and respond to natural disasters," the embassy said.
Amphibious Squadron One commodore Capt. Karry Sanders said the opportunity would strengthen their alliance with the Philippines.
"Our shared focus of regional security, stability, and prosperity in the Pacific will continue to enhance our partner nation’s capability as it has for the last 7 decades," Sanders added.
Philippine Marine Corps commandant Maj. Gen. Ariel Caculitan said the event is important to strengthen the two countries' military capacity.
“MAREX is joined by our foreign counterpart and our major ally, the United States Marine Corps, that has long been training with us and sharing with us the duty to preserve regional peace and security," Caculitan added.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, there would be minimal contact between soldiers. Health protocols will also be observed according to the embassy.
The Philippines and the United States have been treaty allies for some 70 years under the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951.
Under the treaty, the two sides are obligated to come to each other's aid in case of external aggression.
The United States is the oldest security ally of the Philippines, with a wide-ranging security partnership that includes assistance to support Philippine efforts towards enhancing its defense capabilities.