The Philippine Navy (PN) participated in the 80th Navy Day celebrations of the Russian Federation on 28 July 2019 in the cities of St. Petersburg and Vladivostok.
According to Philippine Ambassador Carlos D. Sorreta, this year’s Philippine participation in St. Petersburg and Vladivostok for Russia’s Navy Day celebrations “symbolizes the continued deepening of our ties in general and our military-to-military relations in particular.”
The main events for the commemoration of the Navy Day were held in St. Petersburg, where Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the naval parade and flyover. Other naval parades were also conducted in main Russian bases – Severomorsk, Baltiysk, Sevastopol, Vladivostok, Astrakhan, and the Syrian port of Tartus. Twenty-eight (28) countries, including the Philippines, sent delegations to participate in the events in St. Petersburg, while the Philippine Navy and the Vietnam People’s Navy joined their Russian counterparts for the naval parade and fleet review in Vladivostok.
Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad, Flag-Officer-in-Command, headed the PN delegation to the activities in St. Petersburg, which included meetings with counterparts, visits to naval facilities, and attendance to the naval parade and flyover.
In Vladivostok, a 300-man contingent on board PN’s newest amphibious landing dock vessel, BRP Davao del Sur (LD 602), participated in the Naval Parade. The vessel was in a fleet review formation along with other participating naval ships, while PN servicemen from the Naval Task Force (NTF) 80.5 manned its rails to render honors to the passing ships of the Russian Pacific Fleet.
The contingent, headed by Navy Captain Richard Gonzaga, also called on officials from Russia’s Pacific Fleet and Vladivostok City Government, visited naval facilities, participated in goodwill games, and hosted receptions for the Russian Navy and the Filipino community.
“This is the first time our navy participated in Russia’s Naval Parade. Only a few scant years back, it was almost unimaginable to see our warships sailing together with Russian warships. This is a powerful symbol of the historic decision to free ourselves from the constraints of history and to make our own choices in our foreign relations, choices that open the doors to expanding the frontiers of friendship and cooperation,” Ambassador Sorreta said.
In October last year, PN’s BRP Tarlac (LD 601), with 363 officers and crew from the NTF 87, made a historic port call in Vladivostok. Goodwill visits were likewise made by Russian Navy contingents in January and April this year. Russian vessels are also expected to make port calls in Davao between October to November 2019. Philippine Embassy in Russia