Batanes governor says no live fire exercises in Balikatan

Gov. Marilou Cayco assured that there will be no live fire exercises in the Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) military exercises this year in the towns of Basco and Itbayat and Mavulis Island in the province of Batanes.



“This is to inform the public that the province of Batanes, mainly Basco and Itbayat and Mavulis Island, were identified as one of the locations of this year's Exercise Balikatan, an annual combined exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the United States Indo-Pacific Command (US Indopacom),” Cayco said.

Cayco said only these activities will be held during Balikatan: Military free fall and fast re-insertion and extraction, forward refueling point and island seizure, high mobility artillery rocket system (HIMARS) insertion, and reconnaissance and island seizure.

These will be held from April 25 to May 9 and only limited men in uniform will be in the province, she added.

Cayco said the provincial government supports this activity that aims to strengthen the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to better protect the country's sovereignty.

“The provincial government continue to coordinate with the AFP for further details and to ensure that the public is  fully informed,” Cayco said.

She urged the public to remain calm and avoid spreading fake or unverified information that may cause panic and distress in the community.

Balikatan has been successfully held in the province for several years.