By Allen M. Villa
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Oct 10 (PIA) -- The RP-US Amphibious Landing Exercise (Phiblex) formally started Monday with a simple ceremony at the flight deck of USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault ship of the US Navy anchored at Subic’s Alava Pier.
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.
Philippines and United States military officials said they were optimistic that the annual bilateral training would enhance the common goal of regional security and readiness.
Over 2,000 American and Filipino soldiers will be participating in the exercises, which will be held variously at the Subic Bay International Airport; Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija; Gregorio Lim Marine Barracks in Ternate, Cavite; Crow Valley in Tarlac; Apolinario Jalandoon Naval Station in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan; and the Naval Education Training Center in San Antonio, Zambales.
The country’s elite Marine Corps, the Navy’s Air Group and Special Operation Group, the Philippine Army, and the Philippine Air Force will train hand-in-hand with their American counterparts in the 11-day 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.
Residents of host communities in Zambales and Palawan are expected to benefit from the scheduled Medical Civic Action Program (Medcap) during the exercises. Four barangays in Zambales and Palawan will also get assistance through the Engineering Civic Action Program.(CLJD/AMV-PIA 3)