More troops expected in Balikatan 2023 to prepare vs 'threats': PH Army

Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 15 2023 08:19 PM

Philippine and United States armed forces conduct a bilateral amphibious exercise (AMPHIBEX) on March 31, 2022 in the vicinity of Claveria, Cagayan. FILE

This year’s Balikatan exercises are expected to be bigger, Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner, Jr. said Wednesday.

The Balikatan is the annual Philippine-led bilateral exercise of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States Armed Forces.

“The exercises will involve a myriad of activities, not just focused on developing war-fighting capabilities, but also non-traditional roles such as humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR),” Brawner said in a press conference at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.

Last year, the Balikatan exercises registered the highest number of participants with 8,900 Filipino and American servicemen, as well as 40 observers from the Australian Defence Force.

The number of personnel who will participate this year is still being finalized.

Brawner said the exercises is in response to “man-made and natural” threats in the future.

“All these exercises we are doing are in response to all types of threats we may be facing in the future, both man-made and natural,” he noted.

The Balikatan exercises will be held from April to June.

“Activities will be spread throughout the country. A lot of these will be done in our traditional exercise areas such as Fort Magsaysay, we also have Tarlac and HADR activities in the northern part of the country down to the south,” the Army chief said.