UNITED States Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is in Manila to personally observe the US-Philippine joint military exercises called Balikatan (Shoulder-to-Shoulder).
Carter and his entourage arrived on board a US Air Force Boeing B747-200 and disembarked at the Ages Aviation Center, Inc. at 6:20 p.m., a private hangar inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) complex in Pasay City.
He was met by the country’s Department of National Defense Undersecretary Jesus Milan; US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg; Lt. Gen. John Toolan, US Marine Corps Forces, Pacific’s commanding general; Col. Ernest Lee, chief of Jusmag-Philippines; and another ranking US military official.
Carter will stay in the country toward the end of the two-week Balikatan 2016, which opened on April 4.
About 5,000 American and 3,500 Filipino troops have participated in this year’s joint war games being held in Subic, a coastal town northeast of Manila that used to house a US naval base. BENJIE VERGARA