ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) to Hold First Disaster Relief Exercise in the Philippines

Media Note
Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 6, 2009

The United States and the Republic of the Philippines will co-sponsor the May 4-8 ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Voluntary Demonstration of Response (VDR) in the Philippines.

The ARF-VDR is a civilian-led, military supported demonstration designed to display ARF nations’ capabilities. Following a hypothetical super-typhoon, participating countries will offer assistance in response to a Philippine Government request for international humanitarian relief. Areas of demonstration include land, air and maritime search and rescue, medical assistance/evacuation and engineering reconstruction. Civil-military projects will include reconstruction of a school building, construction of a bridge, installation of a water system and the medical treatment of approximately 8,000 Filipinos in the Central Luzon area.

This first-ever field exercise for ARF serves as a concrete contribution to building capacity for transnational security cooperation in areas like humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Over 20 countries from the Asia-Pacific region will participate in the ARF-VDR activity with 12 countries contributing assets, personnel, and capabilities. U.S. delegates will include U.S. Ambassador for ASEAN Scot Marciel as well as Lieutenant General Keith J. Stalder, Commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific.

Media are invited to observe and report on the VDR from May 4-6 along with senior civil and military attendees from ARF nations and expert-level civil and military observers. As the VDR lead, interested media should contact Ms. Betty Lou Penera with the Philippines Information Agency at +63-2-924-1942, email or visit for more information regarding scheduling, accreditation, deadline, and other arrangements.

PRN: 2009/290