Thousands of U.S. Troops to Arrive in Philippines

(April 15, 2002)

Approximately 2,665 U.S. troops will arrive in the Philippines for annual joint exercises with Filipino counterparts later this month, the Philippine military said on April 9.

The exercises are separate from ongoing joint U.S.-Philippine military exercises in the south. The two-week exercises are to begin on April 22 on the main Philippine island of Luzon and are aimed at "at improving combat readiness in combined operations" and "interoperability" between Filipino and U.S. soldiers through training exchanges of skills in conventional and unconventional warfare.

"There are approximately 2,665 US and 2,900 (Filipino) forces expected to participate in the exercises," the Philippine statement said. "Material and equipment for US forces necessary in the exercise are expected to be flown to the Philippines starting in April."