MANILA— An aircraft hijacking scenario in the recently-concluded exercises participated by Filipino and American troops “downed 8 ISIS-inspired terrorists”.
According to Department of National Defense (DND) Public Affairs chief Arsenio Andolong, the mock aircraft hijacking scenario was part of anti-terror exercises dubbed “Tempest Wind” held Sept. 18-26.
The scenario, Andolong said, was an American aircraft carrying some 162 passengers and crew took off from Sydney, Australia bound for Hawaii.
Before the plane could complete its flight, eight Filipino hijackers took control and diverted it to Clark Field, Pampanga.
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) along with elements of the PNP Aviation Security Group and the AFP joined forces to rescue the hostages unharmed.
Andolong said the FBI provided the information about the aircraft and its passengers and crew while Filipino personnel secured the plane and tried to negotiate with the eight supposed terrorists.
However, negotiations failed prompting forces on the ground to conduct “a tactical response” that resulted in the “death of the terrorists”.
“Tempest Wind” is a bilateral, interagency counter-terrorism exercise designed to test and improve the ability of both nations to rapidly plan, coordinate and conduct counter-terrorism operations.
Andolong earlier said “Tempest Wind” was approved by the Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) of both countries in November 2016.
The exercise aims to provide realistic scenarios on terrorism that will necessitate both high-level engagements and responses on a tactical level.
DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the recently-concluded “Tempest Wind” is pursuant to President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement to honor all agreements especially those that pertain to humanitarian assistance, disaster response and counter-terrorism .
“The drill was designed to provide realistic scenarios and terrorism that demanded both high level engagement from these countries on a tactical level,” he said.
This year’s activity focused on aircraft hijacking scenario designed to improve coordination and synchronization of US and Philippine military and other law enforcement agencies,” he added.