AFP, US military hold 2nd maritime activity in West Philippine Sea
AFP, US military hold 2nd maritime activity in West Philippine Sea
AFP, US military hold 2nd maritime activity in West Philippine Sea
by Mary Antalan04 January 2024
Photo courtesy: AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the United States (US) commenced on Wednesday, January 3, their second iteration of the maritime cooperative activity in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), demonstrating anew their stronger ties.

In a press release, AFP said its maritime activity with the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) in WPS would run until January 4.

Among the activities in the two-day bilateral event would be "passing drills, communication checks, joint patrols, Officer of the Watch maneuvers, cross-deck exercises, and fixed-wing flight operations."

The AFP said it sent four Philippine Navy ships, one multirole/SAR helicopter, and one anti-submarine warfare helicopter.

Conversely, USINDOPACOM would use its four US Navy ships from Carrier Strike Group 1 — two destroyers, a cruiser, an aircraft carrier, and numerous combat aircraft.

"On the first day, the AFP and USINDOPACOM assets arrived at the rendezvous area and performed advanced maritime communication exercises," the state forces said.

"The participating vessels completed division tactics (DIVTACS), an exercise to develop their confidence in maneuvering near other vessels.," it added.

Meanwhile, AFP Chief of Staff General Romeo Brawner Jr. said that the bilateral event signifies "alliance and interoperability" with the US.

"It also demonstrates our progress in defense capabilities and development as a world-class armed force as we carry out our mandate to protect the people and the state," he said.

"Our alliance is stronger than ever, sending a message to the world. We are advancing a rules-based international order and a free and open Indo-Pacific region in the face of regional challenges," Brawner added.

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