PH Navy frigate postpones port visit to Vietnam ahead of sea ruling
The Philippine Navy’s BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF 16) postponed its scheduled port visit to Vietnam, supposedly set in the same week that the most-awaited arbitration ruling in the Philippine-initiated maritime case against China will come out.
In an advisory on Wednesday, Navy public affairs director Captain Lued Lincuna said the scheduled sendoff for the Philippine frigate on Friday was postponed “due to unavoidable circumstances of the operational demand of the said Philippine Navy vessel.”
BRP Ramon Alcaraz, with about 200 Philippine Navy personnel onboard, was supposed to conduct a port visit to Cam Ranh, Vietnam from July 11 to 15.
The visit was intended to be a show of support for Vietnam People’s Navy and “send a strong message of cooperation between the two navies to the regional/international community,” the original press advisory read.
Lincuna told INQUIRER.net that the reason of postponement was “operational in nature” and cannot be shared publicly for security reasons.
He also denied that the visit had anything to do with the upcoming decision of The Permanent Court of Arbitration on July 12.
In 2013, the Philippines filed an arbitration case to invalidate China’s massive claims in the South China Sea. Other claimants in the disputed sea are Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.
A military source based in Camp Aguinaldo said that the postponement indeed had to do with the ruling.
“As a military you are always ready for contingency. Syempre (Of course) you expect for the best pero hindi natin alam kung favorable ang decision. Yung mga kaibigan natin mag-react aggressive or whatever way, either sa Scarborough or areas natin sa Kalayaan Island Group especially yung LT-57. So in case may mangyari may ready tayong assets dyan,” the source said.
(As a military you are always ready for contingency. Of course you expect for the best but we don’t know if the decision would be favorable. Our allies may react aggressively or whatever way, either in Scarborough or our areas at Kalayaan Island Group especially LT-57. So in case of emergency, our assets there are ready.)
LT-57 refers to BRP Sierra Madre, the rusting grounded ship that serves as a military post in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). RAM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.