Australian Defence Force personnel are participating in a major regional exercise in the Philippines focusing on humanitarian and disaster relief.

Exercise BALIKATAN is an annual Republic of the Philippines-US bilateral military training exercise and humanitarian assistance engagement.

Some 31 ADF personnel have already joined the exercise and will play a supporting role in Exercise BALIKATAN on the islands of Luzon and Palawan.

A further 37 ADF members will deploy on May 8 to the exercise area, bringing the total ADF commitment to 68 personnel.

The focus of BALIKATAN 2014 will be on humanitarian activities throughout the Bicol Region of southern Luzon Island.

Military medical personnel will offer medical, dental and veterinary care. Military engineers will construct and repair schools and other community infrastructure in selected communities.

Participating forces will also conduct command and control exercises from CampAguinaldo in Manila and HQ Western Command (Armed Forces of the Philippines) on Palawan with a series of scenarios focusing on maritime security and disaster relief.

This is the 30th annual bilateral exercise.

The exercise will conclude on 16 May 2014.

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