Joint maritime training between the U.S. and Philippine navies will go on as planned despite Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte allegedly strengthening his ties to Russia, according to a report by DVIDS.
Beginning Monday, the respective navies will participate in a week-long training program called Sama Sama in Cebu, Philippines, focusing on security concerns such as piracy and smuggling, as well as improving disaster relief, the report said.
"The training we will perform over the next week will provide excellent opportunities to deepen our long-time maritime partnership with the Philippine Navy," Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson told DVIDS. "We thank the Philippine Navy and the people of the Philippines for being gracious hosts and we look forward to enhancing our professional ties in meaningful ways that benefit both nations."
In addition to conducting training exercises in the island nation, the U.S. also recently deployed special operations forces to help fight ISIS-linked militants in Marawi, Philippines.
The U.S. and the Philippines have been military allies since 1947, but tensions have been strained in recent years. Duterte had some choice words about the Obama presidential administrationin the past, though his relationship with current President Trump — and the U.S. as a whole — seems to be improving.
The Navy is not the only U.S. military branch to train in the Philippines alongside Filipino forces this year. Troops from every branch participated in Exercise Balikatan in April, an annual counter-terrorism exercise.