PH Navy deploys BRP Ramon Alcaraz for 1st US-Asean naval drills

Robie de Guzman   •   August 30, 2019   •   1421

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Navy (PN) has deployed its Del Pilar-class patrol ship, BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16) for the inaugural of Asean-United States Maritime Exercises (AUMX), which will be held on Sept. 2 to 6 at Sattahip, Thailand.

The send-off ceremony for the 200 sailors and marines participating in the drill was held on Thursday at Pier 13, Manila South Harbor.

Representing the PN Flag Officer-in-command was the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Adm. Loumer Bernabe.

“As this demonstrates our capability as well as our commitment to make Southeast Asia secured and progressive and progressive and an opportunity to strengthen close ties with counterparts in our shared efforts to maintain peace and security in the Asean region,” Bernabe said in a statement.

He also reminded departing marines and sailors comprising the Naval Task Group 80.5 “to embody the excellence and high standard of professionalism at all times” and enjoined them “to be at your best while on your mission and take this opportunity as well to learn as much as you can”.

The Philippine Navy said the AUMX 2019 is the first-ever maritime drill between the navies of the ASEAN member states and the United States. It is co-hosted by the Royal Thai Navy and the US Navy.

Operating under the theme “Enhancing Shared Awareness and Interoperability in the Maritime Domain”, this maritime exercise aims to promote maritime security and safety, freedom of navigation and overflight, and unimpeded commerce in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law.

Exercise proper will be executed off the eastern waters of Thailand, where sea and air assets, and special operations teams of participating navies will conduct combined maneuvers to address various contingencies at sea.

This naval exercise is a platform on how the PN and other navies in the region can cooperate and work altogether to address shared maritime security priorities through the development of combined operational doctrines, practices and naval tactics.

The PN’s participation in this undertaking is expected to advance its maritime operational capability to multilateral level thereby increasing readiness and interoperability and enabling the nation’s premier maritime force to assert more efficiency in the conduct of its mandated task.

PH Navy receives advanced drone system from US to boost security in WPS

Marje Pelayo   •   November 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Joint US Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) of the US Embassy in Manila formally turned over a ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to the Philippine Navy in a ceremony held at Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point, Cavite on Wednesday (November 25).

This new equipment will help boost the Navy’s maritime security especially in the disputed waters of the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“This new asset will complement the same kind being operated by the 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing at the Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, which is very close to the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea that need our consistent attention,” said National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

The system which costs US$14.79 M or an estimated P710-M will provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 71st Maritime Unmanned Aerial Reconnaissance Squadron (71 MUARS) – the AFP’s leading unit for unmanned maritime ISR operations.

“Transferring the ScanEagle system for operation by the Maritime Unmanned Aerial Reconnaissance Squadron represents the steadfast commitment by the United States to our partners in the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” US Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Kimberly Kelly.

The Philippines has received more than US$650 million (P33 billion) worth of military materiel from the U.S. military making it by far the largest recipient of US’ military assistance in the Indo-Pacific region since 2015. MNP / Raymund David

PH Navy reservists conduct relief ops in Ulysses-hit areas

Robie de Guzman   •   November 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the Philippine Navy Reserve Force across Luzon are assisting in the delivery of relief goods to different areas in Luzon that were severely affected by the recent Typhoon Ulysses.

In a statement, the navy said reservists packed and distributed relief goods to different communities in Metro Manila and other Luzon provinces, including Rizal, Bicol, and Cagayan Valley.

The navy said its Naval Reserve Center-Southern Luzon through the navy reservists from Camarines Sur under 31st Naval Group Reserve (NRG) augmented to inter-agency relief efforts of distributing relief goods to Barangays Sta Eulalia and Iyagan in Baao, Camarines Sur.

While Philippine Navy 22nd NRG-Team Star conducted relief operations in Rodriguez and Montalban Rizal.

Aside from the delivery and distribution of relief goods, the navy said its personnel also assisted in the evacuation and rescue operations for families affected by widespread flooding during the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses.

Naval Affiliated Reserve Force (NARF)-NCR (WesPhil) deployed two amphibious trucks with one rescue team of well-trained and capable reservists onboard each truck to flooded areas in the cities of Marikina and Navotas.

In Region 2 (Cagayan Valley), PN reservists from Northern Luzon have joined local government units in Cagayan in the conduct of search and rescue operations in the affected communities of widespread flood in the province.

“Said disaster response and relief operations demonstrated the invaluable contributions and selfless service of our reservists as force multipliers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during calamities and other types of human and natural disasters,” the navy said.

The Philippine Navy said it has been helping in relief efforts since last week when Typhoon Rolly ravaged parts of Bicol region.

These deployments are being supervised by the Naval Reserve Command headed by Major Gen. Ariel Caculitan in coordination with Joint Task Force – National Capital Region.

Former gas platforms near Recto Bank eyed as observation posts – PH Navy

Robie de Guzman   •   September 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Navy is looking to convert Nido and Matinloc, two former gas platforms located near Recto Bank, into floating monitoring stations due to their strategic locations.

PH Navy Flag Officer In Command Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo bared the plan when he visited the gas platforms in Malampaya, northwest of Palawan on Sept. 26.

“This inspection intends to look at the viability of these retired gas platforms to be converted to observation posts for Recto Bank and Malampaya gas platform,” Bacordo said in a statement.

“This will further enhance our capability to protect our maritime interests in these strategic locations,” he added.

The platforms location is deemed to be “strategic” and “vital” due to its proximity to Recto Bank, Malampaya and Galoc Gas Fields.

The Malampaya Gas Field is located 820 meters deep, 80 kilometers off the coast of Palawan which falls under the area of responsibility of Naval Forces West.

The Department of Energy (DOE) last year ceased the operations of these two gas fields after over 40 years of production.

The PH Navy said the transfer of ownership of these platforms was offered by the DOE in several meetings of the military’s National Task Force in the West Philippine Sea.

“It is the DND’s position to acquire said platforms and expeditiously transfer it to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” it said.

The navy said the future littoral monitoring station is a welcome addition to its “improving capabilities” to better serve our maritime nation especially in its critical location near the nation’s source of natural gas.

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