US ships greeted by protesters upon arrival in Philippines

  Xinhua, July 2, 2012

U.S. ships, including Vandergrift warship, arrived at Makar Port in general Santos City of southern Philippines on Sunday for the Philippines-U.S. naval joint training exercises scheduled to start on Monday.

Outside the port of Makar, hundreds of people were protesting, denouncing the presence of U.S. troops in the country. "We don't want them on our soil," a Filipino protester said.

The exercises, involving 450 personnel from the Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard; and 500 personnel from the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, will run from July 2-10 near Mindanao Sea.

Dave Welch, commodore of USS Vandergrift, said the training will include in-port training, subject matter expertise exchanges, ceremonies and interactions; diving and salvage training at General Santos Bay, Sarangani; and medical/dental/ engineering civic action projects and community relations activities at different locations in General Santos City and Glan, Sarangani Province.