Armed Forces chief visits Pag-asa Island in West Philippine Sea

The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday assured to uplift the morale and welfare of troops securing Pag-asa Island and other communities within the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).

“The AFP will strike a balance between mission accomplishments and looking after the morale and welfare of our men and women,” General Cirilito Sobejana addressed the military force manning the Naval Station Emilio Liwanag in Pag-asa Island.

The Chief of Staff was accompanied by key officers from the General Headquarters and the Western Command during his trip.

Talking to the troops, General Sobejana stressed the importance of their role in protecting the citizens of KIG and their livelihood as well as guarding the country’s territories in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

The AFP recently deployed additional air and naval assets under the operational control of Western Command (WESCOM) in Palawan. This is to support the National Task Force-WPS together with the Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources in performing sovereignty patrols in the WPS.

Prior to visiting Pag-Asa Island, the Chief of Staff met with the troops of the 3rd Marine Brigade to extend the AFP’s commendation for keeping the Province of Palawan peaceful, stable and progressive.

“The 3rd Marine Brigade’s hard work and persevering efforts for the past three months have yielded significant successes that brought us closer to our goal of putting a decisive end to insurgency and terrorism in this part of the country,” General Sobejana said.

He lauded the unit’s contributions in security operations, civil military operations, stakeholder’s engagement and on COVID-19 mitigation which are vital in the over-all mission accomplishment of WESCOM and the AFP as a whole.

The 3rd Marine Brigade together with the Marine Battalion Landing Team 4 were also awarded by the Chief of Staff with campaign streamers and a monetary reward of PhP500,000.00. This is for their successful dismantling of a New People’s Army guerrilla unit previously operating in Palawan.

In the same day, the AFP Chief together with Naval Forces West Commander, Commodore Donn Anthony Miraflor also visited BRP Emilio Jacinto (PS35), one of the many ships currently deployed at WESCOM while docked at Puerto Princesa City Pier.

He gave a talk and commended the men and women of the naval ship for continuously standing watch to ensure the sovereignty and protect the territorial integrity of the country particularly in the WPS.

He also commended the officers and personnel for their role in the successful rescue of 31 fishermen of MB Pauline 2 at Nares Bank, WPS on May 24.

The province of Palawan and the KIG, dubbed as the nation’s final frontier is challenged with both external and territorial security concerns. The WESCOM is the vanguard of the country’s western frontier and is tasked to conduct territorial and external defense operations as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response within these areas of concern. AFP.MIL.PH