Fri. May 14th, 2021

The 36th iteration of the annual “Balikatan” exercises between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the US military formally started on Monday.

(photo courtesy: http://www.news.usni.org)

“The 36th iteration of Balikatan (BK 36-2021) kicks off today 12 April, to last until 23 April 2021,” AFP spokesperson Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.

He said last year’s “Balikatan” exercises were canceled due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

He added that this year’s Balikatan will be conducted with stringent health protocols in place and a reduced number of participants.

“This erstwhile annual event pushes through with fewer training events that will not entail face-to-face engagement. Further details to follow,” Arevalo said.

The participants to the two-week maneuvers include 736 Filipino troops and 225 American forces.

AFP chief-of-staff, Gen. Cirilito Sobejana added that the two-week military exercise will consist of “virtual and physical” exercises while minimal contact will be observed in physical exercises. SOVEREIGNPH

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