Naging matagumpay ang 36th iteration ng Balikatan Exercise na nagtapos ngayong Abril 23 sa pagitan ng AFP at US Armed Forces, ayon sa AFP.
Sa isang simpleng closing ceremony sa GHQ ng Camp Aguinaldo, sinabi ni AFP Chief of Staff General Cirilito Sobejana, “The successful conduct of this year’s Balikatan Exercise 36-2021 has definitely brought us a step closer towards our goal of capacitating our forces, and as such, will consequently contribute to the peace and stability of the Indo-Pacific Region.”
Nakamit ng dalawang panig ang layunin ng exercise na magsanay sa defense at security efforts sa kabila ng restriksyon ng COVID-19 na nagdulot nang mas mababang bilang ng partisipante ngayong taon, ayon kay Exercise Director at Commander of AFP Education Training and Doctrine Command Major General Edgard Arevalo.
Nasa 415 AFP personnel at 225 naman na US military personnel ang lumahok sa Balikatan.
Nagsagawa ng close air support training na nagtataas ng lebel ng interoperability sa pagitan ng joint forces ang Air Force at Special Operations Forces sa Colonel Ernesto Ravina Air Base sa Tarlac.
Nagsagawa rin ng bilateral staff exercise ang AFP NOLCOM battle staff at US Indo-Pacific Command representatives sa Clark, Pampanga, samantalang bilateral staff academic seminar naman ang isinagawa ng Philippine at US Special Operations Forces sa Taguig City.
Nagkaroon din ng diskusyon paano pipigilan ang pagkalat ng COVID-19. Nagsagawa rin ang Philippine Air Force at US Pacific Air Forces ng virtual Global Health Engagement at iba pang virtual training patungkol sa air operations at capabilities.
Samantala, natapos na rin ng Philippine at US service members ang konstruksyon ng dalawang classrooms at isang daycare center sa Plaridel, Bulacan; at isang classroom sa Atimonan at isang health clinic sa Mauban, parehong nasa Quezon Province.
“Balikatan showcases the strength and resolve of the Philippine-US alliance. These exercises demonstrate and improve our ability to jointly respond to crises. But training is never over. We will continue to advance our military-to-military partnership in pursuit of our shared commitment to mutual defense in a free and open Indo-Pacific,” pahayag naman ni US Embassy Charge d’Affaires John Law.
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