257 Filipino soldiers complete Phil-Aussie military exercises

THE MILITARY said the Philippines-Australia Army to Army Exercise (PAAAE) will enhance the urban warfare counter-terrorism, intelligence, and reconnaissance capabilities of the soldiers in the region.

A total of 257 soldiers coming from different units of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) graduated from the exercise in a ceremony held at the grandstand of Camp Sgt. Demerin, the headquarters of the 10th Infantry Division in Mawab, Compostela Valley on March 1.

The PAAAE started on Feb. 15, 2018 with a simple opening ceremony graced by the 10th Infantry Division commander, Maj. Gen. Noel Clement and assistant division commander, Brig. Gen. Mario G. Lacurom.

“We are very thankful to Australia for being among the countries that provided us with much-needed defense assistance during the Marawi crisis,” said

“They helped our troops in locating terrorist positions in difficult urban terrain with their sophisticated equipment and they provided aid to our displaced brothers in Marawi. The 10th Infantry Division is grateful to have hosted the 3rd Iteration of the Philippines-Australia Army to Army Exercise,” Clement said.

“I am very certain that this bilateral exercise has truly and further strengthened the cooperation between our forces, enhanced our urban warfare counter-terrorism, intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities and strengthen our information sharing on significant matters of mutual interest,” he added.

The skills acquired by our troops in urban warfare and related training are very useful specially that this command is securing a number of urban areas in its area of responsibility to include Metro Davao which is the Malacaňang of the South or the alternate seat of government,” the commander said.

Clement also said that, “With the ever changing operational environment, threats evolve and becoming more aggressive in utilizing any means to conduct terrorism in the country, 10ID’s thrust of protecting the people and securing communities must be recalibrated and should be added with much needed knowledge and skills to address terrorist threat.”

The PAAAE aims to equip forces under Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) units the necessary skills training on urban warfare. It includes the following set of training on: Urban Close Combat, Search and Breach Operation, Managing Combat Trauma, Communication Operation, Command and Control in Urban Operation, Sniping and Counter-sniping and Joint Fires and Airspace Deconfliction.

The Australian Defense Force, which facilitated the exercise, is composed of six officers and 52 enlisted personnel. Lt. Col. Judd Finger heads the Joint Task Group 629 for the purpose of the PAAAE.

Amanda Gorely, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, said in her message, “The PAAAE is a clear display of the long-standing partnership between Australian Defense Force and Armed Forces of the Philippines.”

The Australian ambassador said the military relationship of the two countries goes back to World War II when Filipino fighters were trained in Australia prior to returning to the Philippines to carry out guerrilla operations to oppose the occupying Japanese.

“Terrorism is not only a threat to the Philippines and our region but indeed to other parts of the world. It knows no borders and so we must all remain ready for another incident elsewhere.”

“It’s been more than 70 years and our Armed Forces continue to work hand in hand in protecting our regions. Australia will always support our allies and neighbors to fight against scourge of terrorism and help protect peace and security that all the people deserve,” Gorely added.

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