'Balikatan' exercises 2015 to kick off Monday

This year's Balikatan exercises, aimed at enhancing the readiness of Philippine and US militaries against any challenge, kicks off Monday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. made the announcement during a radio interview Sunday.

He told dzRB Radyo Ng Bayan that it will be the 31st edition of Balikatan since it started in 1951, in accordance with the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and United States.

Through the defense agreement, both countries continue to work together to enhance the readiness of their forces aimed at ensuring regional stability and security, Coloma said.

Filipino and American soldiers will not only conduct military drills but will also build school building as well as provide services to the community hosting the Balikatan exercises.

Soldiers will also conduct trainings and seminars for first responders for community health nursing, common diseases during calamities, and healthy lifestyle to help the people in the local community.

Coloma also said that according to the Department of National Defense, as part of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief program, both Filipino and American forces will conduct structural assessment on seaport and airports in Capiz, Aklan, and Iloilo, which were damaged by Typhoon Yolanda.