After more than two months of drills, the Australian-Philippine Bilateral Exercise “KASANGGA 2022-1” formally drawn to a close last Monday, June 27, 2022, at the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne) [SFR(A)] Headquarters.
According to SFR(A) Commander Ferdinand B. Napuli, about 450 Special Forces and Australian army troops participated in the exercise that was conducted from April 11 to June 27, 2022 of the same year.
“This was conceptualized and realized through the initiative of our officers and Defense Attache Col Paul Barta from the Australian Embassy Manila. With this, we express our sincerest gratitude to the whole Australian government. For us, this is a concrete move to intensify interoperability with our allied countries in the Indo-Pacific. Indeed, “KASANGGA”, which translates to “ally”, is a fitting name,” Col Napuli said.
Per Lt Col Paulo F. Baylon, SFR(A) Assistant Chief of Staff for Education and Training, members of Joint Australian Training Team-Philippines (JATT-P) imparted techniques in combat shooting, urban operations, combat First Aid, and breaching.
“Our Australian counterparts trained four batches of our troops. The first batch was called trainer’s training since the trainees are set to cascade newly learned tactics and procedures down to our battalion’s in Mindanao,” he said.
Maj. Kane Mifsud led the Land Mobile Training Team of JATT-P. He also expressed his teams appreciation for all the experiences and the insights they gained in addressing internal security threats. SFR(A) arranged talks with SF operators who have first-hand accounts on the battle of Marawi and Sulu hostage rescue. The Australian contingent also underwent Jungle Environment and Survival Training at the Special Forces School.
On June 7, 2022 Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Mr. Steven Robinson AO, personally visited Fort Magsaysay to observe the conduct of bilateral training between the SFR(A) and the JATT-P. Col Napuli and the ambassador spoke about the need for future exercises related to counter-terrorism, riverine operations and airborne operations. — PA