Pandemic prompts PH Navy to call off major naval event | Global News

Pandemic prompts PH Navy to call off major naval event

/ 10:21 PM October 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Navy called off a major naval engagement that it had been preparing to host because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Navy Chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo on Monday (Oct. 19) said the Navy had cancelled the International Fleet Review (IFR), which the Philippines was to host for the first time in May 2020.

The IFR, a parade of vessels, submarines and aircraft, was to bring together at least 15 naval powers in the Philippines, including the United States and its rivals China and Russia.


Last April, the Philippine Navy announced it was just moving the event to a later date because of the pandemic. It would no longer happen, though.


“We informed the participating navy chiefs and their delegations that we will no longer push through with the International Fleet Review,” Bacordo said.

The Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), a biennial meeting of navies bordering the Pacific region, which was supposed to coincide with the IFR, had been moved to 2021.

Bacordo said the WPNS was rescheduled to October 2021 with participants being physically present. “But if COVID will not allow it by June or July next year, it will be conducted virtually,” he said.

A preliminary workshop was held in Makati City earlier this year, to tackle issues ahead of the WPNS, which had the theme “Effective Ocean Governance for Regional Partnership and Stability.”

The WPNS aimed to increase cooperation and ability to operate together and also build trust and confidence between navies.

Some countries in the Western Pacific, home to some of the world’s most vital sea lanes for global trade, are involved in territorial disputes which cause tensions in the region. Most Asean states, for instance, are located along the coast and depend on their oceans.


The oceans have become crucial in shaping current world affairs and geopolitics.

Meetings, like WPNS, have played a significant role in maintaining maritime peace and stability, Bacordo had said.

It was during the holding of the WPNS that navies of Pacific nations established the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea, an agreement adopted in 2014 to keep the peace at sea.

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TAGS: ASEAN, Code of Conduct, International Fleet Review, Philippine Navy, Western Pacific Naval Symposium

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