AFP chief seeks closer ties with Australia

AFP chief seeks closer ties with Australia

MANILA – With the success of this year’s Indo-Pacific Endeavor (IPE 2021), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. is looking forward to holding more bilateral engagements with the Australian government.

Faustino made this comment after he congratulated the Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Steven Robinson AO, during a meeting at the AFP Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Thursday.

“The AFP acknowledges the significance of participating in this year’s Indo-Pacific Endeavor. Collaboration on activities like IPE echoes our mutual commitment in advancing our partnership to inculcate resiliency in the region through events of beyond military nature,” Faustino said in a statement Friday.

Meanwhile, Robinson said the IPE 2021 has been the most significant maritime activity of the year.

“It is tremendous to have the opportunity to have three Australian Navy vessels here in Philippine waters conducting exercise with you (AFP),” he said.

The IPE held from September 26 to 29 is the Australian Defense Force’s flagship engagement activity with Southeast Asia. It is aimed at strengthening regional partnerships and collaborations on humanitarian aid and disaster relief, maritime security, gender, peace and security, increased interoperability and capability integration.

Among activities during IPE 2021 was the Exercise Lumbas participated by the Philippine Navy’s BRP Antonio Luna and Australian vessels (HMAS) Canberra and Anzac.

Other activities were the Women, Peace and Security Symposium, Amphibious Symposium, Special Forces Counterpart Talks and Close Quarter Battle Mobile Training.

“The conduct of trainings provides great opportunity for our personnel to advance their skills and knowledge with the Australian forces. I look forward to more engagements and robust bilateral relationship between our countries’ respective military organizations,” Faustino said.

The Philippines and Australia are celebrating 75 years of long-standing diplomatic partnership as both countries work closely in areas of defense, counter-terrorism, law enforcement, education and development. (PNA)

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