US soldiers in the joint exercises in Casiguran, Aurora ​on May 15 (Source: VNA)

Manila (VNA) - Philippine and US soldiers on October 2 launched a joint anti-terrorism exercise codenamed KAMANDAG at multiple locations on the Philippine main island of Luzon.

The US Embassy in Manila said in a statement that the joint exercise will run until October 11. Its goal is to increase counter-terrorism capabilities through bilateral military exchanges between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the US forces.

The activities focused on enhancing counter-terrorism capabilities, humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

Around 900 US soldiers are joining the exercise, which takes place at numerous locations on Luzon island, including the US’s Clark base.

Washington and Manila have long been conducting joint military activities to bolster the combat readiness of the AFP and to maintain the interoperability of the AFP and the US military forces.

Last week, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte thanked the US government for helping Manila in the fight against pro-Islamic State (IS) militants in the southern city of Marawi. 

The US deployed a P-3 Orion spy plane and provided other intelligence inputs for the Philippine forces trying to retake the city in the clash, which has left more than 900 people dead since May.-VNA