The Philippine Navy (PN) is more than capable of patrolling the country’s vast maritime territories.
This was proven by its successful and first-ever deployment to the just-concluded “Rim of the Pacific” (RIMPAC) exercises in Hawaii, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Monday when asked on what benefits the naval maneuvers has given the country.
“Ibig sabihin eh kung nakakapag-participate na tayo ng malayo sa ating (bayan), meron tayong surface ships na malalaki na rin, capital ships na capable of (crossing) oceans and participate (in international exercises), ang ibig sabihin nung ay kaya na natin siguro patrolyahin ang ating karagatan (If we are able to participate in events far from our land and we have big surface ships, capital ships capable of crossing oceans and participate in international exercises, it means we can now patrol our seas),” the defense chief said.
The PN deployed the strategic sealift vessel BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) and frigate BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17), an AgustaWestland naval helicopter and around 700 sailors and marines for the exercises which started June 27 and ended on August 2.
Lorenzana also expressed hope that the PN will be invited again for the next RIMPAC as the latter is a good exposure and training for the naval personnel.
“We were talking a while ago and since this is a very good exposure for our defense people, not only the Navy and marines, but maybe we could also send some Army Special Forces (troop) to participate and also some of our Air Force Special Operations Wing (personnel) next time around and maybe next time around we can also send more ships, maybe three ships altogether,” he added.
The DND chief also emphasized that the PN’s participation in RIMPAC signifies a new era in its maritime operational engagement, cooperation and interoperability with other Navies allowing it to tackle areas of areas of common concern.
“Indeed as we face growing maritime security challenges around the world, there is a need for Navies to work together to increase familiarity and exchange best practices, we also have this trilateral exercises, naval patrols with Indonesia and Malaysia, not only maritime patrol but also aerial patrol, so maybe we could also go into naval exercises with them in the future, something that we should discuss with my counterpart(s),” he added.
“By participating in joint multi-lateral maritime exercises our sailors and marines are exposed to new ideas and ways of handling things which can be used to enhance our own systems and doctrines, its also a good chance for our personnel to experience planning and execution of combined naval operations as well as establish the Navy’s capacity for prolonged operations over seas, our way forward is therefore clear,” Lorenzana stressed.
In line with this, the DND chief said efforts will continue on acquiring more assets for the PN to make it stronger and more credible.