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Province of Batanes Supports Balikatan Exercises 38–23

Batanes Balikatan Exercises

Camp Aquino, Tarlac City, April 18, 2023 – Key leaders and stakeholders of the province of Batanes dismissed their doubts and fears and manifested their support for Balikatan Exercise 38-23 after the Northern Luzon Command, Armed Forces of the Philippines explained to them the activities, benefits, and objectives of the PH-US Forces Balikatan exercises in the province, during the Key Leaders Engagement Forum held at the provincial capitol of Batanes on April 17, 2023.

The forum, which was attended by the Punong Barangays, Municipal Mayors, Department Heads, Church leaders, and leaders of various sectors in the province, was held as requested by the provincial government to address locals’ concerns about the Balikatan Exercises 38-23.

During forum, the NOLCOM AFP emphasized the objective of the Balikatan exercises as an opportunity for the AFP to test its capabilities to perform interoperability missions with other allied nations’ armed forces in order to protect and preserve its territory and better serve the Filipino people, in peace or in crises. NOLCOM also further refuted the notions that the exercises had anything to do with the tensions of our neighboring countries, China and Taiwan.

Under Balikatan Exercise 38-23, no live fire exercises will be held in the province of Batanes. Activities, which include; Air assault operations exercise, Non-standard maritime and free-fall infiltration, and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) landing via Landing Craft Utility (CLU), will be conducted on April 22–23 if weather permits, assuring the people of Batanes that these training exercises will not disrupt nor destroy their livelihood, ancestral domain, and protected areas.

Batanes Balikatan Exercises

Batanes District Representative Ciriaco Gato Jr., reaffirmed the province’s support for the Balikatan Exercises, stressing the importance of readiness among the AFP.

“I would like to manifest our support for the Balikatan exercises, 38–23. It is important for the AFP to be prepared against serious threats to the integrity of our national territory.” He stated.

In addition, the local government unit of Ivana, Batanes offered a firing range area in the municipality that could be used for the Balikatan Exercises 38-23 in support of the training.

During the forum, topics such as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), Batanes’ contingency plan for a possible influx of refugees if tensions between China and Taiwan escalate as well as the NOLCOM AFP evacuation plan for Filipino repatriates were also discussed.

Batanes Balikatan Exercises

Prior to this, NOLCOM AFP expressed gratitude for the understanding and support of the public and local communities and reiterated its commitment to its mission of safeguarding the northern part of the Philippines, while also ensuring that the day-to-day activities of the people in North and Central Luzon will continue while Balikatan exercises is ongoing.

NOLCOM continues to adhere to the objectives of the Balikatan exercises, prioritizing the well-being and security of the local population while also actively participating in joint military exercises that strengthen the AFP’s capabilities and readiness.

Batanes Balikatan Exercises

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