Teodoro lauds success of Balikatan Balikatan Exercise 39-2024, anticipates future multilateral cooperative activities
Fri | May 10, 2024

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May 10, 2024 (Quezon City) – Secretary of National Defense Gilberto C. Teodoro, Jr. congratulated the participants from both the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and United States armed forces during the closing ceremony of Balikatan Exercise 39-2024 at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo today.

“I was with our President yesterday and informed him that today would be the closing ceremonies of the Balikatan, and he extends his congratulations to both armed forces and all those who participated for the successful conduct of this year's exercise,” Secretary Teodoro said in his keynote speech. “He looks forward to next year's exercise, which will be, I believe, the full battle simulation, and will put to the test the combined capabilities in the most realistic set of scenarios possible, with safety in mind.”

The Defense Secretary shared that this year has so far been a productive one for bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the Philippines and countries such as the U.S., Australia, Japan, France, India, Canada, and other like-minded nations. He also cited his recent engagements in Washington, D.C. last April in the Japan-Philippines-United States trilateral summit, the Australia-Japan-Philippines-United States quadrilateral defense ministers’ meeting in Hawaii on May 3, as well as his bilateral meeting with Japanese Minister of Defense Kihara Minoru.

Secretary Teodoro stressed that everything he discussed with his counterparts were ways forward to strengthen combined activities, combined postures, and interoperability.

“We look forward to this because exercises such as this, where at least on the Philippine side, we go out of our normal comfort zone and try to focus on actual soldiering – which is what an armed forces needs to be – was done,” he added.

“I have told the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that we will be increasing the pressure continuously for them to evolve as soon as possible into a multi-threat, multi-theater operating armed force, consistent with the archipelagic doctrine nature of our country and the necessity for defending it in a proactive and not a passive manner,” Secretary Teodoro stated.

“We welcome more multilateral and maritime cooperative activities. We thank our civilian partners, the Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police whose assistance is vital. And we thank the local communities who will continue to welcome us because our national right, territorial integrity, and dignity are non-negotiables for each and every Filipino,” Secretary Teodoro concluded.

Balikatan Exercise 2024, the largest annual bilateral exercise conducted between the Philippines and the United States with over 16,000 service members participating across Luzon, is the 39th iteration of the event. A series of maritime and land exercises were conducted during the three-week long activity.