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Philippine Navy warship heads to South Korea, Singapore

/ 03:45 PM April 23, 2019
Philippine Navy warship heads to South Korea, Singapore

PHOTO from Philippine Navy

MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine Navy warship will join its Asean counterparts and other navies for military exercises in South Korea and Singapore to affirm its commitment to promote multilateral cooperation.

BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17) will participate in the Asean Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus Maritime Security Field Training Exercise in Busan, South Korea and the International Maritime Defense Security Exhibition in Singapore in the next two weeks.

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Navies from 10 Asean countries, as well as non-Asean states Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Korea, Russian Federation and the US will participate in the maritime exercises set for April 29 to May 14.

The 225-man Philippine contingent is led by Naval Task Group 80.6 commander Captain Roy Vincent Trinidad.

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“This is part of our readiness training to ensure our ships are prepared for any eventuality, man-made or natural. We are participating to show that we are part of the Asean and we are showing our support to a rules-based approach for settling disputes in the international arena,” Trinidad said.

“Before we were a young navy, while now we are still trying to learn, we are now out there to show we are almost at par with them. Dati parang pang-barangay basketball ngayon pang-Gilas na tayo,” he added.

Newly installed Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, who led the send off ceremony at Pier 13 on Tuesday, said deploying ships overseas is “a big undertaking that will hopefully cement our place in the international maritime security and defense arenas as one of the active key players and regional partners.”

The Philippine Navy will train with other nations on the protection of maritime installations and dealing with maritime threats like kidnapping and hijacking.

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While en route to Singapore, there will be at sea trials, communication, and photo exercises.

The Navy has participated in several international engagements since last year, including the Rim of the Pacific (Rimpac) exercise in Hawaii; Kakadu in Darwin, Australia; port visits in Vladivostok, Russia and Jeju Island in South Korea; and Asean-China maritime exercise in Zhanjiang, China.

Meanwhile, BRP Tarlac (LD-601) is currently in Qingdao, China to attend the People’s Liberation Army Navy anniversary.

But the Navy’s deployment to China has earned criticisms in social media amid reports of Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea. The ships should be used to secure the country’s borders instead, critics said.

Bacordo said that they have not abandoned their domestic responsibilities despite sending ships abroad.

“Whenever we send deployment for other countries, we ensure our territorial defense operations will not be sacrificed. May mga barko pa rin tayong naiwan doing those (We still have ships doing that). Besides itong mga barko na pinadala natin (The ships we sent were) focused on territorial defense operations so by involving in these exercises we are sending a message that we are a reliable partner in the international community,” he said.

“Pag nagpapadala for foreign deployments ay hindi nabubungi ang ating requirements dito (Foreign deployments should not affect our requirements here),” he added.

Commodre Toribio Adaci Jr., commander of Fleet-Marine Ready Force, said that it is through these international engagements that they gauge their development as a warfighting organization.

“It’s another step forward in enhancing our sailors’ knowledge and skills while developing our ability to inter-operate with other navies,” he said. /ee

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TAGS: ASEAN, Military exercises, Philippine Navy ship, Philippine News
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