About 5,000 US and Filipino marines were sent to the western islands of Palawan,near the disputed waters of the South China sea for the 11-day annual war games to start on Monday, September 29, 2014.

Philippine and US Marine Excercise 2014
The marine exercises aims to test the readiness of the two security allies in reponding to emergencies.

Though the Philippines has territorial dispute with China over the South China Sea, which is said to be rich in energy deposits,AFP claims that it has nothing to do with the said maritime activity.

The joint air and marine exercises “Philippine Bilateral Exercises,” or Phiblex, is focused on maritime security and territorial defense operations.

There are two U.S. amphibious ships, USS Peleliu and USS Germantown, taking part in the exercises. Also simulating boat raids and beach assaults,and aerial live fire, mechanized armor maneuvers and parachute drops.

The field training exercises is expected to improve the skills of Philippine and U.S. troops while sharing best practices and enhancing an already high level of cohesion.

Meanwhile,the military reported China continued its reclamation work in four areas in the Spratlys.

China has expanded its territory in the Gaven, Johnson South, Cuarteron and Chigua reefs in the Spratlys, reclaiming land to build islands to assert its claims.

The Philippines have discovered the presence of more than a hundred Chinese warships and fishing boats in the Spratlys in the this year which alarmed the authorities.

China seized control of Scarborough Shoal, north of the Spratlys, in June 2012 after a three-month standoff with the Philippines banning Filipino fishermen in the rich fishing ground.

In the Scarborough Shoal, the Philippines has also monitored the presence of an increasing number of ships from 2013 upto this year.

The annual maritime exercises between Philippine and U.S. forces are performed under the 1951 Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT), part of a web of security alliances the United States built in the Asia-Pacific region during the Cold War.

Image from GMA7

Luedita C. Rapada

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