By Priam Nepomuceno

Balikatan executive agent Col. Michael Logico (PNA file photo by Priam F. Nepomuceno)

MANILA – Naval participants in the just concluded multilateral maritime exercise were undaunted by the presence of Chinese vessels near the training area off Palawan province, Balikatan 2024 executive agent Col. Michael Logico said Tuesday.

Around four of China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) vessels were spotted at different times monitoring the flotilla during the training period.

“We went there for the purpose of conducting interoperability exercises, that was our mission and we were able to finish it, they were not able to disturb us in any way nor (were we) intimidated in any way by their presence,” he said during a press briefing.

Logico said the presence of PLAN ships did not disturb the exercise.

Balikatan’s first multilateral maritime exercise was in Palawan waters from April 25 to 29.

Participants include the Philippine Navy’s offshore patrol vessel BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16) and landing dock BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602), the US Navy’s landing ship dock USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49), and the French Navy’s FS Vendemiaire (FFH-734), a Floreal-class frigate.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Army’s 5th Civil-Military Operation Battalion’s Civil Affairs Team, the Forward Service Medical Company, a unit within the Service Support Battalion of the 5th Infantry Division, and their US counterparts participated in the tactical combat casualty care lecture and demonstration at the US Army’s 10th Field Hospital deployed in Lal-lo, Cagayan on April 30.

In a statement Wednesday, Army spokesperson Col. Louie Dema-ala said the training equips them with skills and knowledge to provide prompt medical aid to their wounded fellows under high-stress combat scenarios. (PNA)