Tuesday, August 16, 2005
The Philippine and United States naval forces will kick off on Tuesday another round of joint exercises aimed at enhancing interoperability and counter-terrorism cooperation, officials said.
"It will be more of a search and rescue exercise but a counter-terrorism module will also be included," Navy Flag Officer-in-Command Vice Admiral Ernesto de Leon told reporters. The week-long Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT),which will end on Aug. 23, will involve three patrol gun boats andtwo patrol ships from the Philippine Navy and four ships from the US Navy, said Lieutenant Junior Grade Mariflor Cabahug, spokesperson for the joint training. It will be held in the area of the former Subic US naval base in Zambales province, and the Sulu Sea off Palawan province, she said. Some 200 Philippine Navy troops will take part, Navy spokesman Captain Geronimo Malabanan said without giving an estimate of the strength of the US contingent. "This exercise is part of those approved by the Mutual Defense Board," said the spokesman. Enditem