PH, Australian soldiers conclude ‘KASANGGA’ drills

Special Forces from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and members of the Australian Defense Force's (ADF) Army have finished the two-month long “KASANGGA 2022-1” bilateral exercise which effectively enhanced the interoperability of the two units, the military disclosed Saturday, July 2.

(Courtesy of Armed Forces of the Philippines Special Forces Regiment - Airborne)

About 450 personnel of the AFP’s Special Forces Regiment – Airborne (SFRA) and Australian Army troops participated in the bilateral exercise held from April 11 to June 27 in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija.

SFRA Commander Ferdinand Napuli said the joint exercise served as a “concrete move” for the AFP to intensify their ability to operate and work together with allied countries in the Indo-Pacific region.

Members of Joint Australian Training Team-Philippines (JATT-P) imparted techniques in combat shooting, urban operations, combat first aid, and breaching to the participants.

(Courtesy of Armed Forces of the Philippines Special Forces Regiment - Airborne)

“Our Australian counterparts trained four batches of our troops. The first batch was called trainer's training since the trainees are set to cascade newly learned tactics and procedures down to our battalions in Mindanao,” said Lt. Col. Paulo Baylon, SFR(A) Assistant Chief of Staff for Education and Training.

Meanwhile, the Special Forces trained Australian troops in addressing internal security threats.

Among those who participated in the drills were Special Forces operators who have first-hand accounts on the battle of Marawi in 2017 and in Sulu hostage rescue operations. The Australian contingent also underwent Jungle Environment and Survival Training at the Special Forces School.

Napuli and Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson agreed that the Philippines and Australia should continue to conduct future exercises that are related to counter-terrorism, riverine operations and airborne operations.

"KASANGGA," which means partners to reach a common goal, is an Australian-Philippine bilateral exercise that was conceptualized and realized through the initiative of the AFP Special Forces and the Australian Embassy.