By Roy Mabasa
Japanese military service members will be joining the United States and Philippine forces for the third annual KAMANDAG exercise on Wednesday, October 9, 2019, at various training sites throughout Luzon and Palawan.
The United States Embassy in Manila said the 10-day joint exercise aims to promote multinational military interoperability, readiness, and capabilities.
During the KAMANDAG 3 activity, U.S. and Philippine forces will conduct amphibious operations, live-fire training, urban operations, aviation operations, and counterterrorism response operations.
Japanese forces will train alongside American and Filipino servicemen in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.
A new addition to this year’s KAMANDAG is the conduct of assault amphibious vehicle training among U.S., Philippine, and Japanese forces and the low-altitude air defense training and threat reaction training.
“Together, these activities represent an increase in military capability and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region and demonstrate the ability to forward deploy forces in the event of a crisis or natural disaster,” the US Embassy said.
Moreover, the exercise will feature cooperative health engagements, civil affairs interactions, and community relations events throughout Luzon.
The purpose of the health and community engagement is to exchange information on hygiene skills, life support, first response, and safety protocols, as well as to conduct religious ministry, primary education, and athletic events.
“Humanitarian and civic assistance activities enable our service members to foster improved military to military ties and provide support to local communities,” the U.S. Embassy added.
KAMANDAG is an acronym for the Filipino phrase “Kaagapay Ng Mga Mandirigma Ng Dagat” which translates to “Cooperation of Warriors of the Sea,” highlighting the partnership between the U.S. and Philippine militaries.
KAMANDAG 3 is a Philippine-led bilateral exercise with the U.S. focused to strengthen international partnerships and their abilities to rapidly respond to crises throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
The goal of the tripartite exercise is to increase counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief capabilities through military exchanges.