By Martin Sadongdong
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is planning for one “big” military exercise that would prepare them in case of a foreign invasion in the fourth iteration of the joint DAGIT-PA exercises in 2020.
This, just as the AFP joint exercises (AJEX) DAGIT-PA 2019 officially ended on Monday with a fitting closing ceremony held at the AFP Education Training and Doctrine Command (AFPETDC) headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
DAGIT-PA is a term coined for “dagat, langit at lupa” which represents the sea, air and land exercises intended to test and enhance the cohesion of the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force during joint operations.
“AJEX DAGIT-PA brought out the best in our troops during various field and staff exercises. Our units from the regular and reserve force greatly benefitted from this multi-service exercise that aimed to develop our skills and capabilities in joint sea, air and land operations,” said Commodore Adeluis Bordado, exercise director for AJEX DAGIT-PA and commander of the AFPETDC.
As for its next iteration, Colonel Alvin Flores, exercise director of DAGIT-PA for Army, bared that the AFP General Headquarters (GHQ) is planning for a major exercise next year that would focus on territorial defense in case of a foreign invasion, and emergence of hybrid threats.
“I think it’s [in] a big island, like Corregidor type of operation just like during the World War 2. We would like to see a very big AFP unit that will be participating,” he said.
“It’s a very conventional type of operation and we also have hybrid threats like IED-borne suicide bombers and so on. Dati wala tayong (Before, we don’t have a) suicide bomber in the country but now we have. This is the way to go. We have to think as one, operate as one, accomplish the mission as one,” he noted.
During this year’s DAGIT-PA that ran from September 16 to 27, more than 1,500 soldiers and reservists from the major services of the AFP participated in four events namely air/maritime interdiction in Palawan; amphibious operations in Zambales; airfield seizure and military operations on urban terrain in Nueva Ecija, and combined arms live fire exercise in Tarlac.
The AFP also showcased four of its newly-procured amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs) during the amphibious exercise while reservists played a vital role in testing the military’s capabilities on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
A cyber defense exercise was also held to test the military’s cyberspace capacity in building a strong infrastructure that can protect, detect and respond to network attacks.
“Constant joint training exercises like AJEX DAGIT-PA are necessary to enhance personnel capacity and unit capabilities of the joint forces. This will enable our members to be readily deployable to address contingencies across all mission areas,” Bordado said.