Troops from the Marine Battalion Landing Team 4 execute a maneuver during the Amphibious Landing Exercise in Barangay Samariñana, Brooke’s Point as part of the AJEX DAGITPA.

Different operating units from the major services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) showcased their capabilities during the Amphibious Operation Exercise and the Combined Arms and Littoral Live Fire Exercise held in Barangay Samariñana, Brooke’s Point and Brgy. Punta Baja, Rizal last Monday and Tuesday.

The activities were part of the AFP Joint Exercise DAGITPA (Dagat, Langit, Lupa) which seeks to enhance interoperability and strengthen the capabilities of the AFP’s three major services – Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force and Philippine Army.

The two exercises involved a simulation where a military operation was launched to retake territories occupied by enemies.

AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro said in a message delivered by Western Command chief Vice Admiral Alberto B. Carlos said the exercise showed off the capabilities of the country’s forces particularly with its newly acquired naval and air assets, in line with its modernization program.

“Today’s amphibious operation has shed light on what our maritime forces is capable of and what it could be in the future while integrating with other major services in the joint conduct of operations, Bacarro said.

He also said the exercise also aims to expose the weaknesses, in order to address them in the future.

“Consequently, another purpose was to recognize and prevent initial vulnerabilities, technical, operational, and logistical problems, because we strive to be excellent in the over-all command of our ground, sea, and air force,” he said.

And while he commended the performance of the different AFP units in the exercise, Bacarro also said what they did was just a beginning in the preparations of tasks that has yet to come, emphasizing significant points that were attained in the activity, particularly execution of what they did in the exercise in the actual events, knowing the strengths and capacities of the enemies, and the expansion of the capabilities of each unit

Carlos thanked other military officers for bringing the training to Palawan, stating that the province is the best place to conduct such exercise.

“I’d like to thank General (Marvin) Licudine and (VAdm Don Miraflor) for bringing this exercise to Palawan. Like I said, we’re still trying to sell Palawan as a good exercise area. It’s a continuing effort on our part to convince decision makers in Manila to make Palawan as exercise area,” Carlos said.

“With this exercise, Nakita natin na our forces can interoperate. That’s very important, that’s what we tested here because through interoperability, nandoon din yung concept na kailiangan makipagtulungan sa mga civilian. We had to evacuate them so we had to work with the PDRRMO, vecause we wany to make sure that the civilian populace is safe every time we do our military operation,” he added.

Meanwhile, WESCOM spokesperson Maj. Cherryl Tindog said plan of the United States to construct a military facility under Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) in Palawan is a welcome development.

The plan was announced by Bacarro last Sunday where he said the United States is looking to construct five more EDCA facilities in the country, one of which is in Palawan.

Department of National Defense officer-in-charge Jose Faustino Jr. said the facilities will likely be for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response, training, warehouses and operation centers.

Bacarro also said that the plan is still to be discussed and that the defense department along with the Department of Foreign Affairs need to approve the projects first.

“Western Command welcomes it as an opportunity to have more facilities in our joint operations area that can provide support our tasks and complement our efforts in securing and protecting Palawan and the West Philippine Sea,” Tindog said.

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