Philippine Navy sends ship for Russian fleet review
MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine Navy ship left for Vladivostok, Russia on Monday to join the naval parade for Russian Navy Day.
The 300-man contingent comprised of sailors and marines from various units is headed by Captain Richard Gonzaga. The send-off ceremony, witnessed by Navy officers and families of participating troops, was held at Pier 13.
The strategic sealift vessel BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602) has been deployed for the celebration, which will take place from July 24 to 29.
This is the second time that the Philippine Navy will send its ship to Vladivostok. Last year, it sent a 440-man contingent aboard BRP Tarlac (LD-601) for a historic port visit.
“This is a follow-up for our first port visit last year which hopes to broader our horizon on capacity-building and another opportunity for us to continue and strengthen our bilateral military cooperation and diplomatic relationship with the Russian Federation and other counterparts as well as an avenue to explore resolutions on issues and concerns mutual to all maritime countries,” said Rear Adm. Loumer Bernabe, chief of naval staff.
Aside from joining the naval parade, the Philippine Navy contingent is expected to visit naval facilities, including one of Russia’s submarines.
These stepped-up engagements with Russia is a result of President Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed independent foreign policy, where he steered the country closer toward Moscow and Beijing, while alienating the country’s traditional ally, United States.
Last month, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. was in Russia for exchanges to boost security ties and cooperation with counterparts.
In March, Russian Navy chief Admiral Vladimir Korolyov visited the country to discuss a potential cooperation agreement with the Philippine Navy.
Russian Navy ships have also visited Manila twice this year. /kga