MANILA — With Balikatan 2015 formally starting Monday, Brig. Gen. Christopher J. Mahoney, US Balikatan assistant director, said the annual military maneuvers and other similar exercises is instrumental in making world more secure.
“We improve our ability to work together by leaps and bounds, we share gain and understanding, we contribute to making our world secure, stable and prosperous,” he said during Balikatan’s opening ceremonies at the Armed Forces of the Philippines headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
“We know from the previous generation of exercises that working together, security and stability aren’t free, we have to work at it, both are achievable when we work together cooperatively, we believe Balikatan and many other exercises that we conduct throughout the year are concrete examples on how like-minded nations can work cooperatively together to address our common interests and concerns while at the same time holding a sharp edge on military capabilities,” Mahoney stressed.
He added that Balikatan demonstrates the Philippines, America and Australia and all other regional participants’ commitment to promoting security and stability across the land in military operations.
Number of Balikatan participants this year is placed at 11,740 military personnel which can be broken down into 6,656 personnel for the US; 5,023 for the AFP and 61 for the Australian Defense Forces.
This year’s military exercise, which will last until April 30, is the 31st iteration of the annual maneuvers and considered the largest so far in the number of participating US personnel.
“Our marines, airmen, sailors and soldiers are training to ensure that we can work together shoulder-to-shoulder to provide a secure environment and respond together to natural and man-made threats, as part of Balikatan we are teaming up to construct civil facilities, we are conducting training that will enable better medical care and support education,” Mahoney pointed out.
“We’re working together once again to strengthen the resiliency of local communities, but make no mistake about it we are also honing our lethal military skills, the core elements of the profession of arms to allow us to inter-operate, that to cooperatively assist each other as well as other nations should the need arise, so in another way we are sharpening the sword and the bolo,” he concluded.