PH Navy receives, commissions ex-South Korean warship

Robie de Guzman   •   August 6, 2019   •   1894

Courtesy: Philippine Navy Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Navy has formally commissioned into active service BRP Conrado Yap (PS39), a former Pohang-class corvette from South Korea.

In a statement, the Philippine Navy said the warship was handed over during a commissioning ceremony held at Jinhae Naval Base in South Korea on Monday (August 5).

National Defense Assistant Secretary Jesus Rey Avilla witnessed the transfer and signed its documents with his South Korean counterpart, Logistics Management Administrator Kim Soo Sam.

The Republic of Korea Navy ship Chungju (PCC-762) was used by South Korea from 1987 to 2016.

It was given the namesake BRP Conrado Yap upon Philippine Navy commission in an aim to uphold the legacy of a Filipino soldier who served in the Korean war as part of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea. Yap, a Philippine Army captain, was considered as the most decorated Filipino soldier during the Korean war.

During the ceremony, Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad assured to take care of the ship and “will always be in shipshape condition and shall defend our country’s maritime waters with same valor as displayed by our hero Capt. Conrado Yap 68 years ago.”

The BRP Conrado Yap, which is set to sail to the Philippines this month, will be commanded by Capt. Marco Buena.

The ship is expected to beef up the Navy’s frontline defense and enhance the fleet’s Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capabilities.

South Korean military says North Korea fired two projectiles

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2019

Chief of Public Affairs in Joint Chief of Staff (JCS), Kim Joon-Rak

North Korea fired two unidentified projectiles on Tuesday (September 10) morning, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, hours after a senior diplomat announced Pyongyang would be willing to resume negotiations with the United States later in September.

The “short-range projectiles” were launched from around Kaechon in South Pyongan province at around 7:00 a.m. KST (2200 GMT Monday) towards the east and flew about 330 km (205 miles), according to the JCS.

Tuesday’s launch was the eighth by North Korea since U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met at the heavily militarized border between the two Koreas in June.

The launches came after North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui said on Monday (September 9) Pyongyang was willing to have “comprehensive discussions” with the United States in late September at a time and place to be agreed. (Reuters)

(Production: Dogyun Kim, Minwoo Park)

South Korea’s destroyer, fast combat support ships now in PHL

Robie de Guzman   •   September 2, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Two ships of the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) are currently in Manila’s South Harbor for a three-day goodwill visit.

The Philippine Navy welcomed the arrival of the South Korean ships, Munmu the Great (DDH-976) and Hwacheon (AOE-59), classified as destroyer and fast combat support ship, respectively.

The two vessels are part of South Korea’s Cruise Training Task Group comprised of more than 600 navy personnel and around 100 cadets led by its commander, Read Admiral Yang Min Soo.

“The presence of these two Korea Navy vessels and its contingent underscores the continuing efforts of the Philippines and Korea to strengthen the relationship between our governments and navies,” Littoral Combat Force of the Philippine Fleet (PF), Commodore Rey Dela Cruz said during a welcome ceremony held aboard one of the Korean ships.

Yang, for his part, thanked the Philippine Navy for welcoming the Cruise Training Task Group adding that the visit coincided with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the Philippines and Republic of Korea.

He also recognized the Philippine Navy as the “first to dispatch ground forces to support Republic of Korea during the Korean War.”

“ROKN will forever remember the noble sacrifice of PH forces… [the goodwill visit will be the] time to commemorate the war veterans and enhance exchange cooperation with the Philippine Navy,” he said.

During the three-day visit, Yang and his men will have several engagements including confidence building activities with their Filipino counterparts which entail shipboard tour, reciprocal receptions, sports events and joint performances in Luneta Park, Manila.

Yang and his men will also pay courtesy call to Flag Officer in Command, PN, Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad and PF Commander, Rear Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo.

A send-off ceremony with customary Passing Exercise (PASSEX) will cap off said visit, the Philippine Navy said.

The visit is expected to further strengthen the already strong ties between the Philippines and South Korea.

The two nations’ ties dates back to 1949 when the Philippines became the fifth country to recognize the Republic of Korea, and during the Korean War in 1950s when the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea was deployed for the defense of ROK.

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

Robie de Guzman   •   August 30, 2019

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.

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