BRP Davao del Sur in Albay for naval drill

The BRP Davao del Sur, one of the Philippine Navy’s most modern ships in the service, is in the province of Albay for the four-day naval drill starting Tuesday, November 26, 2018.

Dubbed “Exercise PAGSISIKAP 2018,” the drill involves more than 300 sailors, marines and naval aviators from different Philippine Navy units. Naval reservists from Albay, Sorsogon, Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte will also be integrated to the regular force.

“The objective of the Exercise PAGSISIKAP 2018 is to synergize the operational requirements and train the capabilities of the various Philippine Navy support units to perform amphibious operation missions,” Ens. Estella Jane Sasil, Naval Forces Southern Luzon (NAVFORSOL) public affairs office acting director, said.

Major General Nathaniel Casem, Philippine Navy inspector general, viewed the exercise as an instrument to evaluate current doctrines and develop the capabilities of the Philippine Navy to adjust to the fast changing security environment.

“The exercise aims to improve the interoperability among Philippine Navy personnel and to have shared or common understanding on tactics and operations,” Casem said as the keynote speaker during the opening ceremony today.

The exercise, which runs from November 26 to 29, has been designed to focus on interoperability evaluation between fleet and marine units operating in a coastal environment against internal security threats and external defense operations.

“Maritime surveillance form part of the numerous Philippine Navy exercises to hone individual skills and increase operational readiness level. Table top exercises to be executed through field training exercise and maritime interdiction where sailors board on critical contact of interest or a target boat will be conducted,” Casem said.

The harbor phase includes a series of ships and ground trainings, refresher training course through lectures and drills on maritime air surveillance, maritime security operations and amphibious operations are included.

The exercise areas include Naval Station Julhasan Arasain, barangay Lidong in Sto. Domingo town and waters of Albay Gulf.

Amphibious operation will take place at barangay Lidong, Sto. Domingo, Albay on November 28, starting at 7:30 a.m. Here, the scenario involves a simulated attack from the ship to the shoreline to demonstrate the capability of Philippine Navy personnel, assets and armaments onboard the landing dock vessel.

It will be followed by a medical and dental mission at Lidong Elementary School.

BRP Davao del Sur will open its doors to the public on Friday, November 30, from 9AM to 4PM.

“We are inviting everyone, especially the Bicolanos, to come and visit the BRP Davao del Sur for them to witness the modernizing capabilities of the Philippine Navy,” Casem said.

The BRP Davao del Sur is the PH Navy’s second Strategic Sealift Vessel (SSV) with the ability to serve as one-stop operations center at sea, crucial in sending quick deployments.

SSVs can transport heavy equipment, supplies, and troops anywhere in the archipelago. It has provisions for 121 crew members and can house up to 500 soldiers. It can also carry up to three naval helicopters on its heli-deck and two “baby boats” in its rear hold. PIA