Last Monday, the United States and the Philippines began their annual two-week joint naval exercise, this time involving 2,550 Americans and 530 Filipino troops.
Called KAMANDAG, an acronym in Flipino meaning “Cooperation of the warriors of the sea,” will run from October 3 to October 14, the joint island-based exercises will include amphibious landings, live fire, and humanitarian assistance. Japan and South Korea are joining the exercises as observers.
The United States and the Philippines, which for the last 70 years have been bound by a Mutual Defense Treaty, have been holding these annual joint exercises for decades.
On Monday, two US lawmakers from the House of Representatives arrived in the Philippines to strengthen bilateral relations between Washington and Manila
The visit from Massachusetts Democrat Seth Moulton and Florida Republican Mike Waltz was confirmed by the Philippine House Speaker’s office and Leyte First District Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.
Moulton and Waltz, both members of the House Armed Services Committee, were greeted by Senator Imee Marcos, the sister of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., along with other lawmakers.
According to Rep. Romualdez, the lawmakers’ visit coincided with the joint military exercises which are the first joint war games to be conducted under the new administration of President Marcos.
This year’s KAMANDAG war games will also feature the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, the system that has been put to great use in Ukraine’s fight against Russia.
The last time the US and the Philippines conducted a joint military exercise was in March of this year when nearly 9,000 US and Filipino soldiers took part in war games across the main island of Luzon.
The March war games had been scheduled for the previous fall but were delayed due to pandemic lockdowns. These were the final joint military exercises conducted during former President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.