The Philippine Navy (PN) held a send-off ceremony at Pier 13 here today for BRP Davao Del Sur (LD602) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16) with an onboard naval helicopter, departing for the Middle East to help in the repatriation of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) there as tensions particularly in Iran remain imminent.
Philippine President and AFP Commander-In-Chief, Rodrigo Duterte oversaw the deployment of Naval Task Force (NTF) 82.1 comprises of around 400 sailors and marines headed by its commander, Colonel Noel D Beleran. The President was joined by the Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana and Navy Chief Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad.
In his remarks, the President informed the contingent that this mission is to safeguard the lives of the Filipino people. He said, “I tasked you this duty with the prayer and with the hope that you carry out the mission successfully and that everybody will be saved.”
Landing dock (LD) 602 is one of the largest vessels of the PN while PS16 has the modern capability to help provide needed security. The PN contingent is expected to reach Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 25 days, with lay over in Sri Lanka for refueling and replenishment.
The deployment of the naval task force is in support to the AFP Joint Task Force “Pagpauli”mission in the Middle East and in line with the interagency undertaking OplanPagbabalik which primary objective is to save lives and ensure the safety of OFWs in Iran, Iraq and other areas in the Middle East through repatriation.
LD602 and PS16 will serve as sea-based platforms that can provide decent accommodation and necessities for OFWs displaced by the looming conflict in the Middle East. This deployment of PN personnel and assets manifests an advancing navy that is now capable to provide humanitarian assistance for our fellow Filipinos wherever they are in the world. NAVY.MIL.PH