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Despite Duterte’s threats, joint US-Philippine military exercises to go ahead

The joint military exercises will focus on counter terrorism this year

The Philippine military has confirmed it will hold annual exercises with US troops next month, despite frequent threats by President Duterte to cancel them.

The 10-day exercises, known as Balikatan (Shoulder-to-Shoulder), will go ahead in May, an focus on counter-terrorism and disaster response as the fight against Abu Sayyaf and other Islamic militants continues.

“It will be scenario-based like (preparing for) a big storm hitting the Philippines or the possibility of terrorism,” army spokesman Major Celeste Frank Sayson said.

“We are safe to say there will be no more live-fire exercises. We will focus on humanitarian and civil assistance.”

In previous years Balikatan had evolved from counter-terrorism manoeuvres to simulations of protecting or retaking territory, amid disputes with Beijing over islands in the South China Sea.

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Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had said the exercises would return to their former focus on fighting terrorism, which he described as the country’s top security problem.

As we reported last week, security forces clashed with Abu Sayyaf militants on the tourist island of Bohol.


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1 Comment on "Despite Duterte’s threats, joint US-Philippine military exercises to go ahead"

  1. Is there any major issue that Duteriorate has not flip-flopped on?
    Almost all of his flip-flops are in the wrong direction, but this one was for good.
    The US is the best friend the Philippines ever had.
    Duteriorate’s stupid rages against the US have been overlooked, because the US government realizes he’s senile & affected by fentanyl addiction.
    Perhaps venereal diseases from decades of adultery have also affected his mind.

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