By Francis T. Wakefield and Freddie G. Lazaro
The Philippine and the United States (US) forces will hold a bilateral, counter-terrorism drills dubbed “Tempest Wind,” next week here and in Hawaii.
Director Arsenio Andolong, chief of the Department of National Defense (DND) Public Affairs Service, said various government agencies involved in crisis management, counter-terrorism, and security operations in both countries will participate in Tempest Wind.
It is a program approved by the Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) of the two countries in November, 2016.
A press statement from the US embassy said the whole-of-government drill will be augmented by additional military assessments, national level engagement, and subject matter expert exchanges. These are designed to create a realistic environment to exercise counterterrorism strategy, including senior decision-making and tactical responses while deepening the bilateral partnership.
Meanwhile, joint forces from the US Marines and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) conducted a groundbreaking ceremony for the renovation of several schools and a daycare center in Casiguran, Aurora province.
The construction work is a joint civic assistance activity, which forms part of the upcoming bilateral military exercise Kamandag, an acronym for “Kaagapay ng mga Mandirigma ng Dagat” (Cooperation of Warriors of the Sea).
Renovations were made on the C. J. Torre Elementary School, the Esperanza Elementary School, and the Esperanza Daycare Center to give the children a more spacious and comfortable environment in which to learn and play. The project includes building new classrooms and canteens and updating electrical wiring.
US military medical teams also taught basic lifesaving skills, disease prevention, and dental hygiene to a group of almost 600 Girl Scouts while in Casiguran.
Tags: Arsenio Andolong, Department of National Defense, Manila Bulletin, Mutual Defense Board, PH-US counterterrorism crisis response drill set, Philippine government, realistic scenarios, Tempest Wind