Military leaders of 29 nations ended Wednesday a three-day Chiefs of Defense (CHOD) Conference at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, hosted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the United States Pacific Command.
Marine Col. Edgard A. Arevalo, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office, said the meeting gathered the chiefs of defense and senior military leaders of Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, India, Nepal, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Fiji, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, Chile, Colombia, France, Mexico, Peru, United Kingdom, and the US.
The annual gathering is held to strengthen military cooperation, promote collaboration, and discuss security challenges in the Indo-Pacific maritime and geopolitical sphere.
The discussion, Arevalo said, centered on regional military cooperation and challenges, with discussions on “Future Regional Order in the Indo-Asia-Pacific,” “Military Cooperation in Transnational Security,” and “Prospects for Maritime Shared Awareness, Technology, and Innovation.”
Separate programs were held for Senior Enlisted Leaders (SEL) and for the Spouses Network, with professional development meetings, capability demonstrations, displays for the SEL, and guided tours, and humanitarian visits for the spouses.
It was at the 2014 conference in Brunei, where former AFP Chief of Staff Gregorio Catapang Jr. agreed to the request of USPACOM that the AFP co-host this year’s conference.
Started in 1998, CHOD became a platform for multilateral military dialogue and sharing of regional and global perspectives on common security challenges.
“We’ve marked modest achievements in the realization of our aspirations as far as regional peace and stability are concerned. Through this, we are optimistic on the cooperative ties that we have forged together to address terrorism, trafficking in person, drug trafficking, and other transnational crimes. We will emerge empowered still despite our own preoccupations with our mandates at home,” said Gen. Ricardo R. Visaya, AFP chief of staff who led the AFP in the three-day Camp Aguinaldo conference, said.
“As for the AFP, this conference became a venue for us to showcase our capacity for regional leadership, as we continue to promote trust, cooperation, and the peaceful advancement of our individual and common interests in the Indo-Asia Pacific region,” he added.