Reinforcing the decades-long military partnership between the Philippines and the United States, Filipino soldiers and their American counterparts recently conducted a 12-day joint exercise in different parts of Luzon.
The Salaknib exercise was conducted from November 16 to 27 in preparation for the annual Balikatan military exercises in May next year, according to the U.S. Embassy in Manila.
In a statement on Tuesday, November 28, the U.S. Embassy said the troops “participated in subject matter expert exchanges and practical exercises.”
“The American and Filipino soldiers shared information such as gunnery procedures and maintenance for the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier, artillery tactics and processes,” the embassy added.
The two forces also had a study and validation of the PA Sustainment Functional Concept Document, which “establishes a common framework to guide developments for sustaining future Army operations.”
To demonstrate their new skills, the Philippine troopers then fired artillery and M113 gunnery.
“These exchanges of information and practical exercises serve as a foundation for future training,” the U.S. Embassy said.
The Salaknib exercises were held different venues—among of which include Camp O’Donnell in Capas, Tarlac; Fort Magsaysay in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija; and Fort Bonifacio in Taguig.
Part B of the exercise is set for April 2018.
According to Philippine Army spokesman Lt. Col. Rey Tiongson, Salaknib is an Ilocano word meaning “Protector”.
“This is just a small scale exercise. It deals on the interoperability of both Armies, a small-scale Balikatan,” added Tiongson.
Balikatan, which means “shoulder to shoulder,” is considered as the largest joint military exercise between the Philippines and U.S. bound by the Mutual Defense Treaty.
It focuses on “partnership, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities, Philippine capability development and military modernization.” (Dana Sioson/AJPress)