The Philippine Navy through the Fleet-Marine Ready Force (FMRF) and in coordination with Naval Reserve Command (NRC) is conducting the unilateral exercise codenamed “Exercise PAGSASAMA 2020” in Manila and Cavite area which began on Monday, November 23 and will culminate Friday, November 27.
Exercise PAGSASAMA 2020 aims to enhance the readiness and interoperability between active sailors and marines from PN units and their counterparts in the Reserve Force in responding to the call of service in times of national emergencies and disasters. It also intends to integrate the Navy reservists and PN Affiliated Reserve Units (PNARUs) to the PNs regular in the conduct of various operations such as maritime security, amphibious, ground security, humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) as well as civic action program activities.
NRC commander Major Gen. Ariel Caculitan said “this training exercise lined up activities to enhance the warfighting capabilities of both Regular and Reserve Forces. It is also to test on how we integrate our Reserve Forces, our Reservists, in the Regular Forces and be able to perform missions, warfighting missions and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Operation and Civil Military Operation (CMO) missions”.
Several PN assets are being utilized as platforms in this exercise including the corvette, BRP Conrado Yap (PS39), one AW109 naval helicopter, a multipurpose attack craft (MPAC), and PNARU surface assets. Also included are heavy equipment from the Naval Combat Engineering Brigade.
The “Exercise Pagsasama 2020” is headed by the PN Flag Officer In Command, Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo who also acts as the Officer Scheduling the Exercise (OSE). He is being supported by FMRF commander as the Officer Conducting the Exercise (OCE), Brig. Gen. Armel Tolato, and FMRF deputy commander for Fleet Operations, Capt. Lemuel Espartinez who heads the Naval Task Force 84 and concurrent exercise director.
Also part of the planning and execution phases of the exercise are reserve officers Capt. Norman Biola, Col. Roberto Emmanuel Feliciano, and Capt. Aldrin Cuna as co-exercise directors for Fleet Component, Marine Component, and Reserve Component, respectively.
According to Captain Espartinez, “this exercise [will] determine the capability and integration of the PN Regular and Reserved Forces in a “Crisis within a Crisis” scenario in case the “Big One” occurs during this time of Pandemic. The PNs capability for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations at Brgy. Sapang Uno, Ternate, Cavite with the Regular and Reserve Forces utilizing our Fleet Marine assets will be tested.” NAVY.MIL.PH