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NEWS | April 22, 2024

Exercise Balikatan 2024 kicks off with opening ceremony highlighting ironclad alliance

By Courtesy Story, Exercise Balikatan

Exercise Balikatan 2024, the largest annual bilateral exercise conducted between the Philippines and the U.S., commenced with an opening ceremony at Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Headquarters today.

This year’s exercise marks the 39th iteration of the annual event, showcasing the ironclad Alliance and enduring friendship between the two nations.

During Balikatan 2024, participants will execute a range of complex missions across domains, including maritime security, sensing, and targeting, air and missile defense, dynamic missile strikes, cyber defense, and information operations. The Philippine Navy, U.S. Navy, and the French Navy will also conduct a Multilateral Maritime Exercise in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

The opening ceremony was attended by high-ranking military officials from both countries, including Maj. Gen. Marvin N. Licudine, Commander Armed Forces of the Philippines Education, Training and Doctrine Command and the Philippine Exercise Director; and U.S. Lt. Gen. William M. Jurney, Commander U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific and the U.S. Exercise Director.

In his opening remarks, Maj. Gen. Licudine emphasized the importance of Exercise Balikatan in strengthening the military capabilities and interoperability between the Philippines and the United States.

“Balikatan is not just an exercise, but the avenue where we build confidence, respect and understanding to achieve mutual support, cooperation, and a shared commitment. With this, both the AFP and U.S. Forces will achieve a degree of cohesion to maintain combat readiness capable of swift, decisive actions on both an operational and strategic level, responding to regional and global challenges,” said Licudine.

Lt. Gen. Jurney mirrored Maj. Gen. Licudine’s sentiments, stating, “Balikatan is a tangible demonstration of our shared commitment to each other. It matters for regional peace and stability. When we increase our mutual response and defense capabilities, we strengthen our ability to promote regional security and protect our shared interests.”

Exercise Balikatan directly supports the U.S.-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty by ensuring our forces are tactically proficient, that capabilities and modernization efforts are mutually compatible, and by strengthening military-to-military coordination.

“Balikatan” is a Tagalog term that means “shoulder-to-shoulder,” which characterizes the spirit of the exercise and represents the Alliance between the Philippines and the United States.

36:15
VIDEO | 36:15 | Balikatan 24 Opening Ceremony Press Conference

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