Balikatan 34

Manila, April 19, 2018 — The Government of the Philippines has invited U.S. forces to train alongside the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the 34th iteration of Balikatan (BK), from May 7 to 18, at multiple locations in Luzon.

Philippine and U.S. forces began community engagement activities in Luzon today prior to the official start of the exercise.  U.S. and Filipino service members are working together to renovate five schools and conduct medical engagements with local residents in the opening days of the twelve-day military training activity.  These community outreach projects mark the beginning of several information exchanges and live training events between the two militaries.

Balikatan 34-2018 is an annual U.S.-Philippine multilateral military exercise focused on mutual defense, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.  This year’s exercise will focus on interoperability training events designed to enhance the capabilities of both the U.S. and Philippine armed forces.  The training will emphasize mutual defense operations so both nations can more effectively employ forces and provide assistance in the event of crises that endanger public health and safety.

U.S. and Philippine service members will conduct humanitarian civic action activities throughout Luzon during BK 34-2018.  The exercise will also demonstrate cooperation and interoperability between the U.S. and Philippines, consistent with the Mutual Defense Treaty and Visiting Forces Agreement.  To improve their ability to coordinate a multilateral response to crisis, the two militaries will continue their commitment to train and share information.

The U.S. and Philippines will work with regional partner nations throughout BK 34-2018.  Multinational forces from the U.S., Philippines, Australia, and Japan will participate in all major training events, and the AFP has invited the United Kingdom to observe training for the mitigation of post-disaster suffering.