Philippines-US joint drill to start in May

Indo Asian News Service

Manila, April 24 (IANS) The Philippine and the US militaries are set to hold their annual joint exercises in May, the US embassy in Manila said on Monday.

According to a statement, Balikatan or Shoulder-to-Shoulder exercises will begin on May 8 and run until May 19 on multiple locations in the Luzon Island and the Visayas region in central Philippines, Xinhua news agency reported.

The US embassy said military forces from Australia and Japan will participate in all major training events.

The Philippines army has invited military forces from several other nations to be part of the international observers.

The statement did not say how many troops from both sides will participate in this year's Balikatan drills.

The US and the Philippines conduct three major joint exercises and 28 minor cross-training exercises every year.

Balikatan is the biggest and the most comprehensive among the several annual joint military exercises.