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Press and Photo Releases 2013

Balikatan Joint Exercise Returns to the Philippines in 2013: U.S. And Philippine Armed Forces To Work Shoulder-To-Shoulder To Train For Humanitarian Disaster Response And Improve Interoperability

MANILA, March 12, 2013 – Balikatan is an annual Philippines-U.S. military bilateral training exercise and humanitarian assistance engagement.  As a signature element of our two nations’ robust treaty alliance relationship, Balikatan 2013 will take place from April 5 to 17.

 As part of this year’s exercise, members of the Philippine and U.S. armed forces will undertake joint humanitarian assistance projects in communities throughout Zambales province.  Preliminary work on community infrastructure projects will begin mid-March.  Military medical personnel will offer free medical, dental and veterinary care.  In selected communities, military engineers will construct and repair schools and other infrastructure.

 The Balikatan series of exercises focuses on training both the U.S. and Philippines armed forces to provide relief and assistance in the event of natural disasters and other crises that endanger public health and safety.  Additionally, armed forces personnel from both countries will conduct combined staff exercises and field training in Camp O’Donnell, Crow Valley, Subic Bay and Fort Magsaysay to improve interoperability and contingency planning.

 Balikatan 2013 is the 29th iteration of this annual exercise.  This year, the Philippines and the United States have invited a small number of personnel from other partner nations in the region to attend a portion of the exercise. 

 “Balikatan” in Filipino means "shoulder-to-shoulder" and characterizes the spirit of the exercise and the Philippines-U.S. alliance.

 Media interested in covering this exercise should contact the Armed Forces of Philippines Public Affair Office at paoafp@gmail.com.