The Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) and the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) performed joint exercises in humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) and rescue operations as part of the on-going “Kaagapay ng mga Mandirigma mula sa Dagat” (KAMANDAG) exercise at the Naval Station in San Antonio, Zambales on Friday, Oct. 1.
Major Gen. Ariel Caculitan, PMC Commandant, said the JGSDF presented their HADR capabilities in rescue operations while the PMC demonstrated highly mobile rescue try and systematic medical evacuation using their light equipment heavy-duty capable equipment.
The drill sought to enhance the interoperability of the Filipino and Japanese troops in carrying relief and medical assistance to an inaccessible place of disaster.
Marines and reservists under the 12th Marine Battalion also executed a simulation of the landing of an Amphibious Landing Force ashore with the Japanese troops using the Philippine Navy’s logistics support vessel BRP Dagupan City (LS-551).
The exercise was graced by Col. Yu Nakano, the Defense Attaché of the Embassy of Japan.
Caculitan praised the JGSDF troops led by Major Yasutomo Kamiakito, commander of the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, for their continuous upgrading of their HADR capabilities which are deemed essential in rescue operations.
He also acknowledged the continuing military cooperation between the two countries and stressed the importance of learning new sets of knowledge and skills on HADR “especially as both Japan and the Philippines are prone to natural disasters and calamities.”
The HADR drill was among the highlights of the fifth iteration of KAMANDAG exercise which kicked off last September 28.
The KAMANDAG exercise is an annual joint exercise between the PMC and the United States Marine Corps under the mutual defense treaty (MDT), an accord signed in 1951 which states that both countries are to defend each other in case of an armed attack by a third-party country. Japan sent some of its troops to participate in the drills.
The war games sought to fortify the bilateral cooperation of the Philippines and US, and enhance the interoperability of Filipino and American forces along with other partner-nations.