09 October 2012

RP-US military exercise kicks off in Subic Bay Freeport

The RP-US Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) 2013 formally commenced here in the freeport Monday with a simple ceremony at the flight deck of USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault ship of the US Navy, which anchored at Subic’s Alava Pier for the 11-day exercise.

The ceremony was witnessed by US exercise director Brig. Gen. Craig Timberlake, RP exercise director Brig. Gen. Remigio Valdez, flag officer-in-charge Vice Adm. Alexander Pama, Deputy Chief of Mission Brian Goldbeck of the US Embassy, and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia.

Both the Philippine and US military officials said they were optimistic that the annual bilateral training would enhance the common goal of regional security and readiness.

An estimated 2,200 American soldiers and members of the Philippine Marine Corps will be participating in the exercises, which will be held variously at the Subic Bay International Airport; Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija; Marine Barracks Gregorio Lim in Ternate, Cavite; Crow Valley in Tarlac; Naval Station Apolinario Jalandoon in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan; and the Naval Education Training Center in San Antonio, Zambales.

Participants from the Philippine Navy’s Air Group and Special Operation Group, the Philippine Army, and the Philippine Air Force will also be involved in the exercise.

In his message at the opening rites, Gen. Pama noted that Phiblex 2013 will serve as a venue for exchanging expertise, technology, tactics and effective procedures to ensure interoperability of the armed forces from the two nations.

Pama added that Phiblex 2013 is focused on the interoperability of the two forces in providing humanitarian assistance and disaster response in times of calamities.

The US Embassy’s Goldbeck, meanwhile, stressed the importance of the friendship binding the United States and the Philippines, adding that Phiblex “reinforces our long-time partnership and demonstrates the U.S. and Philippines’ commitment to mutual security.”

“All aspects of this Phiblex — whether they are field training, staff exercises, or civic action projects — will enable the men and women of our armed forces to work together, reinforcing our unity, and improving our ability to work as a team,” Goldbeck added.

It is also expected that thousands of residents of host communities in Zambales and Palawan will benefit from the scheduled Medical Civic Action Program (Medcap) during the exercise. Four barangays in Zambales and Palawan will also get assistance through the Engineering Civic Action Program. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

[1] United States and Philippine Marine color guards stand in attention during the opening ceremony of Phiblex 2013 aboard the US Navy amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard in the Subic Bay Freeport.

[2] Crewmen check on a Harrier fighter jet on the flight deck of the US Navy amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, as the RP-US marine amphibious exercise Phiblex 2013 kicks off Monday in the Subic Bay Freeport.