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Prepare for more pronounced external threat, Philippine president warns

Philippine Army soldiers assigned to the 7th Infantry Division sit in a Boeing C-47 Chinook flown by the 2-25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division during an air assault manoeuvre as part of the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center-Exportable. Photo: US Army photo by Staff Sgt. Thomas Moeger

The Philippine military must begin preparations for “more pronounced external threat”, according to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

The Philippine military must begin preparations for “more pronounced external threat”, according to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

President Marcos made the comments while addressing members of the Philippine Army’s Fifth Infantry Division at Camp Melchor dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela, on 10 June.

The Philippines must be prepared to face more pronounced external threats as a result of the heightened geopolitical tension in the Indo-Pacific, he said during the speech. In addition, President Marcos said the Philippines’ proximity to Taiwan puts it in China’s area of interest.


“And that is why – the external threat now has become more pronounced, has become more worrisome. And that is why we have to prepare,” President Marcos told the members of the 5th ID.

“So, that is the mission that you have before you. Now, you have two missions, whereas before it was only internal security.”

“We are not trying to take territory. We are not trying to redraw the lines of sovereign territory, the EEZ, the baseline … not even one inch.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines must be supplied with equipment, training and facilities to make it a highly capable force, he said.

Soldiers assigned to the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division and US Army’s 25th Combat Aviation Brigade recently conducted an air assault manoeuvre during Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center-Exportable (JPMRC-X) exercises taking place at Fort Magsaysay, Philippines, from 1 to 10 June.

During the exercise, 25th CAB pilots landed CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters while 7th ID soldiers exited from the vessels and took defensive positions to secure the perimeter before the helicopters quickly departed.

“This exercise is very crucial to our troops because this is our first time being in this type of exercise. We are glad that our troops have their own experiences on how to conduct air assaults,” said Philippine Army Captain Pedric Lumantis, an OC/T for the Philippine Army.

“We appreciate that the US Army was all over this exercise with all the support the Philippines Army needed. They are always sharing their knowledge with us and this is very important to us.”

The JPMRC-X is a Department of the Army initiative consisting of a deployable package of personnel and equipment designed to support training exercises across the Pacific. This iteration of JPMRC-X marks the first deployment to the Philippines, which will enable and assist the Philippine Army and the Armed Forces of the Philippines in building combat training centre locations within the Philippines.

“JPMRC-X sets us up for success while working alongside allied nations because it allows us to see where our counterparts are to help develop and coach by observing what they do to no change anything but to add to their toolbox,” US Army Sgt. 1st Class Vonnell Diggs, adviser to the Philippine Army OC/Ts, said.

The training executed between the US Army and Philippine Army prepare the troops to respond jointly to potential future crises, contingencies, and natural disasters.

Earlier this year, defence ministers from Australia and the Philippines met at the Philippine-Australia defense ministers formal bilateral meeting during the 21st International Institute for Strategic Studies Shangri-La Dialogue on 3 June.

“Our relations with the Philippines are at their high point. We very much welcome this development,” Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said.

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