Army to hold joint exercise with US troops

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 15 2016 06:11 PM

File Photo: Philippine Army

MANILA - The Philippine Army will be holding a training exercise with its American counterpart despite a previous statement by President Rodrigo Duterte that these joint activities would no longer continue.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Army said it will engage in a one-month joint and combined training exercise with the United States Special Operation Forces from November to December this year.

The annual training exercise, dubbed the Philippines-United States Balance Piston 16-4, focuses on "enhancing the war fighting capabilities and interoperability" of both the Philippine Army's Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the US Special Operations Forces, it said.

It will be held at a maritime training facility in Puerto Princesa, Palawan and at a military camp in Rizal, Palawan and will be participated in by 18 US personnel and 56 SOCOM forces.

The announcement comes after Duterte's earlier statement that October's Philippines Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) would be the country's last joint exercise with the US, whose criticism of alleged extra-judicial killings in the Philippines has irked the President.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had said they have officially informed the US that it has suspended the South China Sea patrols.

The Army, however, said that since Balance Piston 16-4 is an annual training activity, it "will push through as planned unless another order is issued" to them.