American and Philippines forces hold joint military exercises which Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has said will be the last.
NATURAL ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION U.S. and Philippine Marines held live-fire exercises at a military camp north of Manila on Monday (October 7) as part of annual joint exercises to improve cooperation. Troops took part in marksmanship and assault drills, firing at stationary targets scattered on a hill overlooking the military camp. The exercises are part of the Philippines-U.S. Amphibious Landing Exercise (Phiblex), which seeks to enhance inter-operability across a range of military operations, including humanitarian and disaster response. The exercises will be held in different military camps in the northern island of Luzon, including live-fire exercises and simulated assault scenarios. Relations between the two nation have been fraught recently. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, in a speech on Friday (October 7) that continued his near-daily lambasting of Washington, repeated his position from a week earlier that for Philippine-U.S. war games, "this year would be the last." Washington has said it has not received any directive from Duterte and said they will keep on cooperating with the Philippine government. Rifts in the alliance have widened in recent weeks as Duterte intensifies a verbal onslaught against anyone who criticises a brutal anti-drugs campaign that has killed thousands since July.