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PBBM observes ALON 2023 amphibious assault exercise in Zambales

The Philippine Air Force and the  Australian Defense Force (ADF), joined by the United States Marine Corps (USMC), simulate a scenario for the combined amphibious operation to retake lands captured by foreign enemy forces. This is the second part of the First Amphibious and Land Operations (ALON) of the Indo-Pacific Endeavor 2023  conducted at the Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui in San Antonio, Zambales on August 25. (Presidential Communications Office)

SAN ANTONIO, Zambales – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. witnessed the amphibious assault exercise of the coordinated Amphibious and Land Operations (ALON) bilateral training at the Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui in San Antonio, Zambales on August 25.

The engagement is the second part of this year’s Field Training Exercises (FTX) of the Indo-Pacific Endeavor (IPE) among the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Australian Defense Force (ADF), and the United States Marine Corps (USMC) that aims to enhance proficiency and demonstrate capabilities in maritime, amphibious, and subsequent land operations.

Marcos stated that his administration will push for the continuation of joint military exercises between both countries to increase the capabilities of the two forces.

“You know, coordination is very vital, especially in the military, if the multiplier effect is big, and that’s why it is important that we continue that,” he said.

The President added that he expects to come up with new strategies, ideas and agreements towards strengthening the partnership between the two countries.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (leftmost) says he will discuss with the Australian Prime Minister the continuation of joint military exercises between the Philippines and Australia to increase the capabilities of the two countries’ forces. (Presidential Communications Office)

AFP Public Affairs Office Chief Lieutenant Colonel Enrico Gil Ileto underscored that Exercise Alon marks the first bilateral amphibious exercise between Australia and the Philippines which serves as an avenue for shared commitment to a peaceful, prosperous, and resilient Indo-Pacific Region.

“The said bilateral exercise will help enhance regional security through cooperation and partnership. It will further enhance interoperability and readiness to respond to shared security challenges,” he said.

Participating in the bilateral exercises are over 2,400 combined personnel. One thousand two hundred of them are from the ADF, 900 from the AFP, and 150 from the UMSC.

The first FTX featured an air assault exercise in Punta Baja Rizal, Palawan last August 20-22. The third exercise will feature land and air training in Tarlac and Cavite on August 27 to September 22.

Meanwhile, ADF Joint Operations Chief Lieutenant General Greg Bilton highlighted that the IPE signifies their commitment to investing in regional partnerships for a peaceful, secure and prosperous region.

“Exercise ALON is a significant activity that offers the opportunity for the Australian Defense Force to work closely with partner nations, increase interoperability and deepen people-to-people links to enhance defense cooperation,” he pressed.

Initiated in 2017, the bilateral exercise aims to foster regional security and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific through engagement, training, and humanitarian efforts in Southeast Asia and the Northern Indian Ocean. 

During the exercise, the three forces demonstrated how a fictional country has been continuously claiming international waters and asserting ownership over independent countries including the Philippines, especially in the vicinity of Palawan and Zambales.

The fictional assault scenario showed how the AFP, ADF, and USMC launched a combined assault to respond to the said security threat.

Exercise ALON operations are designed to fortify the capabilities of the marine amphibious ready unit, elevate their competence in special operations, and bolster archipelagic 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 via force level commanding control.