Spanish Navy chief conducts official visit to Philippines

Upon the invitation of the Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy Vice Admiral Robert A Empedrad, Admiral Teodoro E. Lopez Calderon, Chief of the Spanish Naval Staff conducted an official visit to the Philippine Navy (PN) from January 20 to 23.

An arrival honors was accorded Adm. Lopez Calderon as he arrived at the PN headquarters January 21 to pay courtesy on the FOIC, PN. Together with other PN senior leaders and HPN staff, the Navy chief awarded the visiting Spanish Navy Chief with an honorary flag rank command badge. After which a briefing and exchange of views were conducted.

Said visit provided the officials of both navies an opportunity to share best practices and operational experience on the various challenges faced in carrying out their respective missions. Both sides likewise exchanged views on the maritime security environment in their respective regions most especially on the challenges in terms of maximizing limited resources and how their navy pursued common maritime threat such as piracy at sea, smuggling, terrorism and others.

With regard to modernization efforts, the PN expressed interest to the submarine program of the Spanish Navy. It will help the Command as it pursue its submarine acquisition as part of its modernization program. This can be done by establishing a framework of cooperation through bilateral engagements such as staff to staff talks between the two navies.

In his remarks, Admiral Lopez Calderon expressed, “Our engagement in the past continuous to increase and improve. We are so far away but we have similar threats in some way though different in characteristics… The commitment of the Spanish Navy is to help and support you. We will continue to increase our collaboration.”

Meanwhile, Vice Admiral Empedrad stated, “The PN honors the long-standing relations and close ties that we have with Spanish Navy. As we share common lineage and ancestry… I take pride in knowing that distance or oceans for that matter, do not in any way created hindrance for us to establish deep-rooted friendship that spanned for centuries.”

He added, “The many engagements and bilateral agreements we have with them and with the extensive areas of mutual concerns that we have discussed earlier, I have very good reasons to believe that our partnership with you will continue to be very productive and will go a long way promoting global peace, security and progress.”

The high-level engagements and promotion of naval diplomacy have been rooted in deep and decades of historical links between the two countries which are now geared toward capability development and defense cooperation.