The Philippines will not participate in the actual Rim of the Pacific naval exercise in Hawaii but the country has sent observers to the largest-ever naval drill in the region participated by 22 countries, the Palace said on Friday.
“We are not participating in the actual naval exercises. We have sent, however, observers to be part of the multinational staff,” said Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte on Friday.
She said the country isn’t joining the actual drill because it has separate schedule of military exercise with the US under a defense cooperation agreement.
“Meron tayong bilateral naval exercise on July 2 to 10 so doon ide-deploy ang mga ships natin. This bilateral naval exercise is part of the Mutual Defense Board exercises,” she said.
The military exercise is under CARAT or Cooperation Afloat and Readiness Training Exercise. Among the participants will be the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard and on the US side, the US Navy and the US Coast Guard.
This year’s war games, the 23rd in a series that began in 1971, are scheduled to last until Aug. 7. Some 42 surface ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircrafts and 25,000 personnel are taking part in military drill.
Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore and the United States are among the nations joining this year’s military exercise.
Military personnel from India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Republic of Philippines, Thailand, Tonga and the United Kingdom are also taking part.