Balikatan is a joint military event conducted under the auspices of Philippines-United States Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) that aims to improve bilateral engagement and training opportunities between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the US Marine Forces Pacific (US MAFOPAC).
United States Army Specialist Jomar Soliven of the Hawaii National Guard Search and Rescue said the annual RP-US military exercises aim to provide Filipino soldiers the opportunity to improve their knowledge in the field of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
Soliven said Filipino soldiers were also trained to further improve their response effectiveness and speed in the event of natural disaster and other crisis that comes along the way in the event of calamities.
"It is necessary that rescuers know how to properly handle victims of both natural and man-made calamities," the US Army Specialist added.
Meanwhile, Col. Lawrence Mina, Officer in-charge of Balikatan Exercise of the 5th Infantry Division, said the joint humanitarian and rescue mission exercises will reinforce the knowledge, skills and ability of our soldiers specifically on improving response effectiveness in the event of natural disasters and other crises.
Mina said such training is also important as it will harness the disaster response capabilities of Filipino soldiers especially that the country is prone to disasters and calamities like typhoons and earthquakes. (ALM/MGE/PIA-2 Isabela)