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MANILA: One of the three battle groups assembled by the United States (US) in the Asia-Pacific Region is in the Philippines for this year’s launching of the joint amphibious landing exercises in territorial waters of the West Philippine Sea.
Helicopter carrier USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) of the US Marine Corps’ air-ground task force, escorted by two frigates, dropped anchor yesterday at the former US naval facility at Subic Bay in Zambales with 2,200 US Marines on board.
The US Marines are slated to link up with their local marine counterparts for the joint mock amphibious landing operations as well as land-based exercises in Palawan and Zambales.
The two provinces have territorial jurisdiction over the disputed Panatag Shoal and the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) in the Spratlys. Dubbed as Phiblex 2013, the yearly Filipino-US Marines joint drill, will be simultaneously launched on Monday with Zambales as the official opening venue of the event.
In a statement, the US Embassy simply said the USS Bonhomme Richard is in the country for a goodwill visit.
“The goodwill visit highlights the strong historic, community and military connections between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines,” the US Embassy said.
The US Marine Corps air-ground task force is one of the powerful air, land and sea armada assembled by the US and has started operating in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Philippine Star