PH, US forces to hold exercise next month

American and Filipino soldiers are seen setting camp during the PhilippineS-US Ampibious Landing Exercises (Philblex) at Crow Valley in Tarlac City, Monday. President Duterte said yesterday these exercises will soon be a thing of the past.

MANILA — The Philippine Army will engage in a one-month joint and combined training exercise with the United States Special Operations Forces starting next month based on its annual program.

The training exercises will happen despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent pronouncements that he wants to end military exercises with the U.S.

Col. Benjamin L. Hao, Army spokesman, said the Philippines–United States Exercise Balance Piston 16-4 will focus on enhancing the war fighting capabilities and interoperability of both the Philippine Army’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the U.S. Special Operations Forces.

Hao said more than a dozen US Special Operations Forces and a company-size Philippine Army Special Forces will take part in the training, to be held at a maritime training facility in Puerto Princesa, Palawan and at a military camp based in Rizal, Palawan in November to December this year.

Hao said since it is an annual training activity, the Philippine Army continues its preparations unless another order is issued by the higher-ups.

Some of the training events under PH–US Exercise Balance Piston 16-4 include subject matter expert exchange training on human rights, marksmanship and tactical combat casualty care.