Philippines, US start joint naval exercise
A joint naval exercise between the Philippine and United States Navy began in La Union on Monday.
Lt. Col. Isagani Nato, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom), said the joint exercise that will run until July 16 will have personnel from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force as observers.
He said the opening ceremony held onboard BRP Tarlac at Pier 1, Poro Point in the province of La Union was graced by Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat, Nolcom commander, as the guest of honor and speaker.
It was also attended by Naval Forces Northern Luzon Commander, Commodore Nichols Driz, United States Commander of Logistics Group Western Pacific, Task Force 73, Singapore Area Coordinator Rear Admiral Murray Joe Tynch III and Japanese Navy Captain Masahiro Goto of the Maritime Operations and Plan, Department Operations Support Division Chief of Planning Section.
Nato said the exercise will be conducted in the area of Nolcom within the provinces of La Union (particularly at Headquarters Naval Forces - Northern Luzon in Naval Station Ernesto Ogbinar, San Fernando City), in Zambales, including Cavite.”
He said Salamat emphasized the importance of the joint naval exercise.
“This training provides us with an exceptional opportunity for both Philippine and US Navies to engage in a broader range of maritime operations and unique scenarios in our maritime areas” said Salamat.
“In this way, we could explore for more cooperation, enhance our interoperability, and provide us effective mechanisms for collaboration and partnership of our Navies in the spirit of our mutual treaty engagement,” he added.
According to the US Embassy, as part of the exercise “the expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Millinocket, diving and salvage ship USNS Salvor and a P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft will operate alongside Philippine Navy frigate BRP Ramon Alcaraz and landing dock ship BRP Tarlac in at-sea evolutions in the South China Sea.”
“Evolutions include air defense exercises aimed to increase proficiency in air and missile defense, diving exercises to promote mutual efficiency underwater, and search and rescue exercises designed to enhance capabilities in aid-and-assistance to distressed mariners,” it said. Robina Asido/DMS