Australian defense chief visits troops joining Philippines-Australia military exercise in Maguindanao

Participants to the Philippines-Australia Army to Army Exercise simulate a close quarter battle scenario on Thursday (23 February 2023) at Camp Siongco in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte. MIndaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

DATU ODIN SINSUAT, Maguindanao del Norte (MindaNews / 24 February) — Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles and General Andres Centeno, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, on Thursday visited troops taking part in the Philippines-Australia Army to Army Exercise in Maguindanao del Norte.

The six-week exercise, which began on Monday and will continue until the end of March, is taking place at Camp Siongco, the 6th Infantry Division headquarters in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat town.

The exercise is led by the 6th ID and the 6th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment.

The participating troops demonstrated their capabilities and skills in close quarter battle, marksmanship in combat shooting, and casualty care to Centeno and Marles, who is accompanied by Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Hae Kyong Uy.

The close quarter battle exercise simulated an engagement with terrorists inside a building, resulting in “wounded” troops on whom the participants applied their knowledge in tactical combat casualty care.

Aside from Centeno and the Australian officials, Western Mindanao Command Commander LGen Roy Galido and 6th ID Commander LGen Alex Rillera also witnessed the exercise on Thursday.

Rillera said his division was honored to host the exercise.

He said the two countries have shared commitment to regional stability and security.

He cited the lingering threats from ISIS-inspired groups and the territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Aside from marksmanship and tactical combat casualty care, the participants to the exercise will also undergo training in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance operations, and small unit leaders training through the exchange of techniques, tactics and procedures.

Last year, about 450 Philippine special forces and Australian army troops took part in a similar exercise at Fort Ramon Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. (Ferdinandh Cabrera/MindaNews)