SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Multiple MV-22 Ospreys arrived in Subic Bay Freeport Zone last week ahead of the annual Philippine-led military exercise 'Balikatan'.

Over 5,000 U.S. military personnel will participate the military exercise which will take place in various areas in Luzon from March 28th to April 8th. The U.S. troops will join approximately 3,800 Filipino soldiers for training on “maritime security, amphibious operations, live-fire training, urban operations, aviation operations, counterterrorism, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.” 

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires ad interim Heather Variava said that, “Balikatan is a critical opportunity to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our Philippine allies toward a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific that is more connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient,’ as our Indo-Pacific Strategy calls for."

Major General Jay Bargeron, U.S. 3rd Marine Division Commanding General, said that during Balikatan, Philippine and U.S. troops “will train together to expand and advance shared tactics, techniques, and procedures that strengthen our response capabilities and readiness for real-world challenges.” 

Mr. Bargeron also said, “Our alliance remains a key source of strength and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.” 

Major General Charlton Sean Gaerlan from Armed Forces of the Philippines (A.F.P.) and Exercise Director for Balikatan 22, said that annual military exercises “is a testament to the strength of the Philippines and United States’ security relationship.”

“The experience gained in the exercise complements our security cooperation endeavors and will help to enhance existing mutual security efforts,” Mr. Gaerlan added.

The United States embassy said that 'Balikatan' 2022 will also feature a command post exercise that tests the two militaries’ ability to plan, command, and communicate with each other in a simulated environment.  

“This training will bolster the collective security and defensive capabilities of the alliance,” the embassy said.