US, Japan Warships Enter Country For War Games
US and Japanese warships have begun arriving in the country in Subic, the former American naval base. They will be part of the annual joint Balikatan military exercises between Filipino and US troops.
Seven US ships and three Japanese vessels will arrive this weekend for this year's 2016 Balikatan exercises. Japan however, is participating as an observer. US Marines participating in the Balikatan exercises will also arrive in the Philippines this week, according to the US Pacific Command.
Balikatan is an annual bilateral training between the Philippines and the US. The scope of the exercises range from various missions such as humanitarian assistance, maritime law enforcement, and environmental protection, according to a statement earlier issued by the US Embassy in Manila.
The Baliktana exercises will happen between April 4 to 16 across various sites in the country. These sites include Crow Valley, Fort Magsaysay, Clark Air Field, Subic Bay, Palawan, and Panay.
Replenishment oiler ship USNS Matthew Perry (T-AKE-9), USNS Rappahannock (T-AO-204), and dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49) dropped anchor at the Alava pier in the Subic Bay, according to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.
Supply ship USNS Sacagawea (T-AKE-2),dry cargo ship USNS Maj. Stephen W. Pless (T-AK-3005), oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO-193), and Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DD6-62) are expected to arrive today.
Philippine Navy spokesman Capt. Lued Licuna said the Japan's self defense force, the Maritime Self-Defense Force (J-MSDF), would send its Oyashio-class Japanese diesel-electric submarine (SS-511) for a goodwill visit this 3 April.
It will be escorted by two destroyers, JS Setogiri (DD-156) and JS Ariake (DD-109). This is the first time the submarine would visit the country in 15 years.
Additionally, military Humvees and amphibious assault boats have been loaded into the Subic Bay International Airport. These would be used in the Balikatan exercises.
US and Filipino soldiers train together in the exercises in order to fortify maritime law enforcement throughout the country. These include meeting annual training requirements, enhance soldier techniques, tactics, and procedures as a vital element for the cooperation of the US and the Philippines.