RP-US Balikatan Exercises: A Peace-Building Tool for Mindanao
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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This thesis explores how the Philippine-American security cooperation can contribute to building a sustainable peace in Mindanao by analyzing the proceedings and outcome of the 2002 RP-US Balikatan exercise at Basilan Island. Balikatan 02-1 was a counterterrorism cooperation wherein US military forces were deployed to the southern Philippines and provided training, equipment, and intelligence information assistance to the AFP in their combat operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group. Balikatan 02-1 successfully forced the ASG out of Basilan and this accomplishment facilitated humanitarian assistance and civic action projects that proved to be beneficial to the people of Basilan. Furthermore, Balikatan 02-1 helped restore a new sense of peace and security in the province. In view of these outcomes, this thesis asks how future Balikatan exercises may be conducted in order to contribute to a sustainable peace in the southern Philippines. This thesis argues that the RP-US Balikatan exercise series can be a tool for peace-building in Mindanao by means of concentrating its activities in the southern Philippines, as well as focusing on stabilization and reconstruction operations.
- Military Intelligence
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics