The Philippines and the United States Marine Corps have begun a three-week bilateral training exercise in Palawan called Marine Aviation Support Activity 2022 (MASA22).

This comes after a formal launch at the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) Headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on June 7, 2022.

MASA is a bilateral exercise between the two forces that seeks to improve combined and joint interoperability among the forces participating in tactical and heliborne operations.

It includes, among others, integrated and joint interoperability activities such as coastal defense forward arming and refueling, as well as subject matter exchanges for unmanned aviation system and engineering.

For Western Command’s (WESCOM) joint operational environment, the Philippine Navy’s (PN) Naval Air Wing and the Philippine Air Force (PAF) are also participating in the said training to beef up the joint forces capacity and interoperability for WESCOM’s mission areas.

The presence and flights of US C17 Globemaster III aircraft over Palawan that will run until June 17 consist of bilateral training activities that are focused on mutual defense, counterterrorism and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

“The aviation’s role in joint, combined, interagency and multinational operations has always been significant in the accomplishment of our mission especially in the defense of our sovereignty and sovereign rights,” said Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos, the commander of WESCOM.

“WESCOM welcomes this training opportunity for our joint forces and we are all confident that such exercises will contribute largely in the sustainment of regional peace and stability,” he added.

The MASA 22 is the 2nd major training activity this year in Palawan following the Marine Exercise 2022 (MAREX) conducted earlier this year.