This year's Balikatan exercises focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster response. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV
CASIGURAN, Philippines — The armed forces of the Philippines and the US on Monday simulated ship-based disaster response operations in case a powerful typhoon cuts off other avenues to send relief.
The operation, called Civil Military Activities from the Sea, involved ferrying supplies from the BRP Tarlac, the Philippine Navy's first Strategic Sealift Vessel, by boat and landing craft and by air.
The Tarlac, which has been joined in the Philippine Fleet by the BRP Davao del Sur, can transport relief supplies and personnel and can function as a floating hospital if needed, Maj. Frank Sayson, Balikatan spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said.
The US military, which, according to the training scenario, had been called in to help because Filipino first responders were overwhelmed by the number of disaster survivors needing assistance, sent in relief by Blackhawk helicopter and a V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.
The US also sent USNS Sacagawea, a large cargo ship owned by the US Navy but operated by civilians.
Watch clips of the exercise, which was capped off by a medical mission at a local elementary school,here:
-- Video by Efigenio Toledo IV, Philstar.com