By Francis Wakefield
The Philippine Army is currently participating in the Armed Forces of the Philippines Joint Exercise (AJEX) dubbed as Dagat, Langit at Lupa (DAGIT- PA) 2018 that officially kicked-off at Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija on July 30, 2018.
DAGIT-PA is the level up of the original Interoperability Exercise between the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Navy, with the integration this year of the Philippine Army and AFP Special Operation Forces. It is a unilateral exercise focusing on the development of the AFP capability on Joint Operations.
The exercise/s is divided into two parts: The command post exercise from July 30 to August 2 and the field training exercise from August 2 to 3, 2018.
Army Spokesman Lt. Col..Louie D. Villanueva, said the Philippine Army’s participation is focused in the conduct of Command Post and Field Training activities that is anchored on Territorial Defense and Internal Security Operations as the exercise themes for this year.
He said the scenario that concerns Territorial Defense involves an escalating maritime security situation that would lead to crisis and conflict. In the process, the AFP will be required to apply its unilateral defense plan.
Villanueva said the Army contingent plays a key role in the Airfield seizure and Military Operation in Urban Terrain (MOUT) as part of the scenario.
“Such scenario will be complemented by a counter-terrorism situation that developed in an urban environment as drawn from the real world experience such as the recent Marawi conflict,” he said.
On the other hand, the exercise that is focused on Territorial Defense and Internal Security Operation aims to establish a common operational picture for all Army participating forces in order to effectively respond to any crisis like counter-terrorism and armed conflict utilizing various support and capabilities.
Several Army units are involved in the exercise such as the Army Support Command with its Explosive and Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) units, Training and Doctrine Command, Mechanized Infantry Division, Fort Magsaysay Army Station Hospital, 500th Engineer Combat Battalion, K9 Battalion, Army Artillery Regiment, Army Signal Regiment, Civil Military Operation Regiment, and Army Aviation Battalion.
In addition, the 7th Infantry “Kaugnay” Division, aside from serving as host of the exercise, also participated along with the AFP Special Operations Command with its Special Operation Forces component.
“The Philippine Army generally promotes resilient, secured and peaceful Philippines to that effect with the current military capability upgrades that includes fire power, mobility assets, Command, Control, Communication and Cyber System equipment, as well as on training,” Villanueva said.
“The Army always put premium on training to achieve efficiency in the conduct of ground operations and to enhance personnel capacity as well as unit capabilities as part of joint and combined forces that will enable them to readily respond to address contingencies across the mission areas,” he added.
Philippine Army Commanding General, Lieutenant General Rolando Joselito D. Bautista appreciated the initiative and concept of the AFP in spearheading the Joint Exercise DAGIT-PA 2018.
He said the activity will not only provide the Army personnel the necessary training and skills but also exposure on joint operations with other armed services which is essential amidst the current situation and operational setting.