Philippine, US troops to conduct joint military exercises hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Source: Business Insider)
Hanoi (VNA) - Philippine and US troops will conduct a month-long joint military exercises, Philippine military announced on November 15.

In a statement, Army Colonel Benjamin Hao, a spokesman for the Philippine army, said at least 18 American soldiers from the US Special Operations Forces and 56 Philippine army soldiers will take part in the exercises called "Balance Piston" that will be held at a maritime training facility in Puerto Princesa and at a military camp in Rizal, in Palawan, from November 16 to December 14.

Hao said the exercises are based on the Philippine army’s annual programme. The training will focus on "enhancing the war fighting capabilities and interoperability of both the Philippine army's special operations command and the US special operations forces."

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said last week that the Philippines and the US armed forces will push through with the scheduled joint military manoeuvres this year.

However, Lorenzana said that the joint exercises planned for next year would be scaled down adding that the three big exercises would be whittled down to just one. He said that the exercises would focus more on human assistance and disaster response.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has given the go-ahead for the small scale exercises but voiced hope that it would be the last, saying he does not want foreign troops on Philippine soil.

Besides, Duterte said that the war games benefit the US troops more than the Philippine army.

The US and the Philippines traditionally conduct three major joint exercises - Balikatan (or shoulder-to-shoulder), CARAT and PHIBLEX - and 28 minor cross-training exercises every year, including the so-called Passing Exercises between the US and Philippine navies in the East Sea.-VNA