News / USA

    US, Philippine Forces End Joint Maneuvers

    U.S. and Philippine Marines board a CH-53 to prepare for a water insertion exercise to practice jumping from the chopper into water for raids and humanitarian assistance, Philippine Marine Base Gregorio Lim, Ternate, Cavite, Sept. 20, 2013. (Simone Orendain/VOA)U.S. and Philippine Marines board a CH-53 to prepare for a water insertion exercise to practice jumping from the chopper into water for raids and humanitarian assistance, Philippine Marine Base Gregorio Lim, Ternate, Cavite, Sept. 20, 2013. (Simone Orendain/VOA)
    x
    U.S. and Philippine Marines board a CH-53 to prepare for a water insertion exercise to practice jumping from the chopper into water for raids and humanitarian assistance, Philippine Marine Base Gregorio Lim, Ternate, Cavite, Sept. 20, 2013. (Simone Orendain/VOA)
    U.S. and Philippine Marines board a CH-53 to prepare for a water insertion exercise to practice jumping from the chopper into water for raids and humanitarian assistance, Philippine Marine Base Gregorio Lim, Ternate, Cavite, Sept. 20, 2013. (Simone Orendain/VOA)
    Simone Orendain
    More than 2,000 U.S. and Philippine marines finished three weeks of joint amphibious exercises in the northern Philippines Friday, capping the year’s joint training agenda, which officials of both countries hope will be expanded in the near future.  But the U.S. government shutdown has cast a shadow as the two governments talk about more U.S. troop visits to the Philippines.  

    The bilateral exercises closed on a day that President Barack Obama was supposed to go the Philippines.  But he canceled his visit because of the U.S. government shutdown.  Secretary of State John Kerry was scheduled to go in his stead, but Kerry’s trip was canceled Thursday afternoon because Manila was about to be battered by a typhoon.

    Despite the nixed trips, Visiting Forces Commission Executive Director Edilberto Adan said the Philippines remains reassured by its partnership with the United States.

    “We have our common values.  We want a democracy that is alive.  Both our nations respect the rule of law.  We want freedom of navigation of our seas.  So this alliance is emphasized through these exercises that these two nations remain committed to the purpose, to the objectives, of the Mutual Defense Treaty,” Adan stated.

    Negotiators from the Philippines and the U.S. are currently combing through the Treaty and the Visiting Forces Agreement to work out how the Philippines will accommodate more frequent U.S. troop visits.

    The U.S. wants easy access to areas where it could dock ships, land planes and have equipment positioned and ready to use.  Philippine negotiators say the plan fits well with their weak and aging military’s $1.8 billion upgrade program, and add that having more training opportunities with a visible American presence would help form a “minimum credible defense posture.”  The Philippines is in a territorial dispute with China over rocks and outcroppings in the South China Sea, which China claims almost entirely.

    While the details of the agreement were being scrutinized by the parties in several rounds of talks in Washington and Manila, marines from both countries carried out exercises in waters near disputed territory.

    On a windy Friday in Ternate, Cavite - about 220 kilometers southeast of the contested Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea - a massive CH-53 helicopter whirred above the choppy water of a small beach.  A few dozen marines in full gear jumped out of its belly aiming for rubber boats below.

    The troops were practicing entering locations through water for military raids and humanitarian purposes.

    This was not the first time Philippine marines practiced the maneuver.  But Philippine Marines spokesman Vince Salmingo said it was an important activity to share with U.S. counterparts.

    “The new thing here is as much as possible we try to… avail of a new unit to do this.  Our other guys were able to undergo the same training before," Salmingo explained. "But for this particular exercise… it is going to be a new unit but the same training.”

    The pending agreement makes clear that there will be no U.S. bases in the Philippines, which closed down century-old American installations in 1992 under domestic pressure. The Philippine negotiators say they do not expect any doubling of the thousands of troops that come every year for joint activities.  

    The Mutual Defense Board, comprised of both countries’ officials, is meeting next week to plan the coming year’s joint exercises.  Undersecretary Adan said they hope to have additional training scheduled under the anticipated agreement.

    You May Like

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, the history of take-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora