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PH in US-led maritime exercise

The Philippines will participate in the world’s largest maritime exercise, the United States-led and hosted Rim of the Pacific, scheduled June 30 to August 4, in and around the Hawaiian islands and southern California.

RIMPAC is a biennial exercise that provides for a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.

RIMPAC 2016, with the theme “Capable, Adaptive, Partners,” will bring together military forces from 26 nations. It will also involve 45 ships, five submarines, and more than 200 aircraft.

“The participating nations and forces will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex war fighting,” said a statement from the US Pacific Fleet.

“The relevant, realistic training program includes amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal, and diving and salvage operations,” it added.

While only a small contingent from the Philippine Navy will take part in RIMPAC 2016, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said that “it is very important that we participate in the biggest multinational military exercise of our time.”

“Learning to operate in this environment along with all the participating nations affords us the learning experience of knowing how we can work with a big number of nations in any particular scenario that may evolve in the future,” according to Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesperson, AFP.

“The learnings we derived from the actions we took after super typhoon “Yolanda” or “Haiyan” is a case in point.

There were more than 20 nations that sent their military to help us. In this context, it is to the benefit of the Philippines to know and apply the most recent TTPs and other protocols that is necessary to ensure the efficient utilization of these forces in meeting the challenges that is present in that circumstance,” he added.
(Elena L. Aben)