SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines—Philippine and United States naval forces on Thursday began bilateral maritime exercises, which include activities in international waters of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The exercise directors for both countries, however, downplayed the connection of the annual exercise—called Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (Carat)—to the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China even as some of the activities will be held some 240 kilometers from Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal), a territory being disputed by both countries.
A statement from the US Embassy in Manila said the Carat exercises at sea would be held in international waters west of Subic Bay. It said Carat promotes regional maritime cooperation, “it is not in response to current events.”
Ages Aviation Center, Inc. Manila (MNL/RPLL) office transformed into the Distinguished Visitor (DV) hub for the US Marines as it transferred passenger from Manila to the areas of the exercise throughout the event.
Ages supported the USMC Beechcraft King Air and Citation Ultra that were positioned in Manila to support the CARAT Exercise. Part of the service Ages provided were storage space for spare parts, maintenance facility for aircraft tire changes and aircraft washing. For the distinguished passenger, Ages provided lounge facility refreshments and simple snacks.