MANILA - The Philippine Army and the US Army on Saturday concluded the 3-week bilateral "Salaknib" Exercise at Fort Ramon Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, the military said.
A total of 400 personnel joined the exercise composed of 15 training events including urban operations, intelligence, combat engineers operations, medical planning, Military Police operations, K-9 operations, and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) defense development.
It aims to develop the Philippine Army’s capabilities by "training in various warfighting functions all geared to achieving combined arms approach in any type of mission," the Philippine Army said in a statement Sunday.
"With the continuation of the Visiting Forces Agreement, both armies expect to continue with the exercise in the coming years," Philippine Army spokesman Col. Ramon Zagala said.
The VFA provides the legal framework under which US troops can operate on a rotational basis in the country and experts say without it other bilateral defense agreements, including the Mutual Defense Treaty, cannot be implemented.
President Rodrigo Duterte had restored the VFA after extending its suspension of abrogation thrice. Duterte last year unilaterally canceled the two-decade-old VFA, in an angry response to an ally being denied a visa.