News Release

PBBM to discuss increased defense, security cooperation with Australian PM Albanese next month; witnesses first ALON exercises in Zambales

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Friday that he would discuss with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese the continuation of joint military exercises between the Philippines and Australia to increase the capabilities of their respective forces, in addition to other issues of common concern in the midst of the current geopolitical condition.

The President made the statement during an interview with the media, following his attendance at the 1st Amphibious and Land Operations of the Indo-Pacific Endeavor 2023 (ALON) held at the Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui, Camp Artemio Ricarte, San Antonio, Zambales.

Albanese is set to met President Marcos in a scheduled visit to the Philippines next month.

“I think we would be discussing for sure also the continuation of this kind of joint exercise to increase the capabilities again of our (forces). Alam naman ninyo, pagka maganda ang coordination, lalong lalo na pag sa military, pagka napakalaki ng multiplier effect and that’s why it is important that we continue that,” President Marcos said.

“That’s certainly going to be part of the discussion that I will be having with the Prime Minister when he comes…to visit us here in the Philippines.”

The President also said that he expects to come up with some new strategies, ideas and agreements in terms of strengthening the partnership between the two countries during his meeting with Albanese.

Security and defense are going to be part of that, Marcos said, but clarified that will be only one part of many things that he will be discussing with the Australian leader.

“We have many common concerns with Australia in terms of the region and, of course, we also have very many Filipino nationals in Australia. And I was reminding the Ambassador…we have a large contingent of Filipinos in Australia,” he said.

The President thanked the Australian defense force for their participation, cooperation and support for all the endeavors that the two countries are doing. He also congratulated all the personnel who participated in “a very well-run exercise.”

Marcos Jr. observed the 1st ALON war games in Zambales aimed at fortifying the capabilities of the Marine Amphibious Ready Unit and bolster the country’s coastal defense capabilities with the help of its allies.

Exercise ALON is a dynamic initiative that stands as a testament to the Philippines’ commitment to bolstering bilateral cooperation and interoperability within the armed forces.

The primary objective of the exercise is to elevate the effectiveness of combined operations. These operations, in turn, are designed to to fortify the capabilities of the Marine Amphibious Ready Unit, elevate the armed forces’ competence in special operations, and bolster the country’s coastal defense capabilities.

This year’s amphibious event is geared towards conquering gaps in conducting combined operations and improving tactics, techniques and procedures to ensure the effective employment of all combat arms integrated through force-level command and control.

The event is also intended to simulate a real-time scenario while making sure that the execution could be observed by evaluators and spectators.

Friday’s scenario for the combined amphibious operation featured the Philippines and Australia working together with the help of American forces to retake lands captured by foreign enemy forces.

Under a fictional assault scenario, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) asked Australia’s assistance in flushing out foreign invaders through an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Program (EDCP) anchored on maritime security and counter-terrorism in addition to training and education, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peace and security.

Some 2,200 troops from the AFP and Australia participated in the joint exercise held in San Antonio, Zambales.

Among the military hardware involved in the exercise were Australian Air Force F-35A AF35A Lightning Two, naval gun support vessel HMAS Canberra and Anzac, Australian M1A1 Abrams tanks, US Marine Crops V-22 Osprey and amphibious assault vehicles from the Philippine Marine Corps. PND