Rear Admiral Leopoldo Alano, commander of the Philippine Fleet, described the drill as a great opportunity “to gain valuable experience and increase our inter-operability.”
The drills will also feature for the first time the littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth, and involve the rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard.
While it does not take sides in the dispute, the US has in recent weeks intensified its criticism of China’s reclamation work, which has created new islands including airstrips on reefs and shoals also claimed by its neighbors.
The US says the activities could pose a threat to freedom of navigation.
Cacao farming is fast gaining many adherents among farmers in Palawan.
Dr. Myrna O. Lacanilao, Overall Program Manager of the Livelihood Project Management Unit of the provincial government told Palawan News that last year 1,000 hectares have been planted with cacao in the towns of Bataraza and Rizal.