MANILA—With the ever-changing security landscape brought about by terrorism and other threats, the annual “Balikatan” exercises offer both American and Filipino forces a chance to strengthen their ties, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff, Gen. Eduardo Año, said Friday.
“Today’s dynamic and ever changing security landscape, continue to bring challenges brought about by terrorism, threats to cyber and maritime security, as well as natural and man-made disasters. These traditional and non-traditional threats put our capabilities, determination and ability to adapt to the toughest test. But these challenges also offer opportunities for us to further strengthen our ties,” Año said during the closing ceremonies of the 2017 “Balikatan” exercises, held at the AFP Commissioned Officers Club in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
This year’s “Balikatan” military drills began on May 8 and ended Friday.
Special focus was paid to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief drills, along with counter-terrorism.
“For the past weeks, the ‘Balikatan’ exercises has been an avenue for us to further nurture our bond. Our joint undertakings are manifestations of our commitment to unity, trust and the willingness to come to each other’s aid in times of need,” the AFP chief stressed.
He added that the annual military drills between American and Filipino troops have unveiled many breakthroughs significant to the two nations’ shared aspiration of achieving global security and stability.
“I am cetain that the new learnings from this year’s exercises will enable us to raise the level of our inter-operability,” Año said.
To emphasize this further, the AFP chief quoted Charles Darwin, who once said:
“In the long history of humankind, those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”