American troops join two-month Balikatan
AS the military continues to hunt down the three remaining Abu Sayyaf bandits in Bohol, about 50 American soldiers will join the civil military exercises dubbed Balikatan in some parts of the Visayas.
Col. Medel Aguilar, commander of the Philippine Joint Civil and Military Operations Task Force, clarified that the Balikatan is not related to any terrorist threats.
“Our activities are intended for humanitarian and civilian assistance and to transfer knowledge and skills on how to react during emergency situations like typhoons,” he said during yesterday’s Balikatan launching.
The trainings include the construction of disaster-resilient facilities, classrooms, disaster preparedness and building community relations and partnership for civic action programs.
The two-month Balikatan exercises are focused on the islands of Panay, Leyte, and Samar and are seen to strengthen the ties between the two countries.
Lt. Col. Ryan Scott of the US military engineering department said they welcome the partnership between their country and the Philippines.
Since April 11, eight Abu Sayyaf bandits were killed in two gun battles in the towns of Inabanga and Clarin.
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