US, Japan and Philippine forces combine for military exercise

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Brigadier General Chris McPhillips, Commanding General of the 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Major General Nathaniel Casem, Inspector General of the Philippine Navy, and Brigadier General Melquiades Ordiales, Deputy Commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps, open exercise KAMANDAG 2 during a ceremony at Subic Bay International Airport. Picture via the US Embassy in Manila.

A joint military exercise being conducted by the United States, Japan, and the Philippines has kicked off at the Subic Bay International Airport.

About 1,000 naval and marine troops from the three countries today (Monday, October 1) officially launched the military drill dubbed “Kaagapay ng mga Mandirigma ng Dagat” (KAMANDAG).

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Captain Jerber Anthony Belonio, director of the Marine Corps Public Affairs Office of the Philippine Marines, said KAMANDAG 2018 will run until Wednesday next week. It will be held in various locations across Luzon.

Capt. Belonio said the training sites will include Crow Valley in Tarlac province; Camp Gregorio Lim at Ternate town in Cavite province; and the Naval Education Training Command at San Antonio town in Zambales province.

Last week, amphibious landing crafts of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force started arriving at the former US naval base for repair.

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KAMANDAG is a contracted form of the Filipino phrase “Kaagapay Ng Mga Mandirigma Ng Dagat”, or “Co-operation of Warriors of the Sea”.

The name was chosen to emphasise the close partnership between the Philippine and United States militaries, said a statement from the US Embassy in Manila.

The military exercise aims to increase the overall US and Philippine military readiness, improve bilateral responsiveness, and strengthen the working relationships between the participating forces.

The naval drills will focus on enhancing counter-terrorism capabilities, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities. There will also be hands-on humanitarian and civic assistance projects over the coming days.

The exercise is only the second naval training of such a large scale to be held in the Philippines.

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