October 9, 2023
MANILA – Preparations are underway for an upcoming small-scale bilateral military exercise between Filipino and Australian troops in Palawan.
The Dawn Caracha 2023, which runs from Oct. 16 to Oct. 27 and involves some 80 soldiers from both sides, will focus on counterterrorism operations and special operations, according to the Western Command (Wescom).
The soldiers started their preparations on Saturday with pre-exercise movements and operational briefings, it said.
The exercise presents an opportunity for both units to showcase their skills, strengthen their partnership, and foster increased collaboration.
“By emphasizing interoperability and joint efforts within the Wescom’s operational area, the exercise aims to enhance collaboration in tackling complex security challenges in the country’s western front,” the Wescom said.
Dawn Caracha 2023 will “definitely contribute to regional security and foster closer cooperation” between the two countries, it said.
Australia is the only other country with a visiting forces agreement with Manila, aside from the United States.
Wescom jurisdiction covers Palawan and the Philippine claims in the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea.
In August, the Philippines and Australia staged a large-scale exercise in Palawan as part of Exercise Alon, where they trained defense from invaders in a town facing the West Philippine Sea.