By Priam Nepomuceno
MANILA — BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17), one of the Philippine Navy’s (PN) most capable offshore patrol vessels, on Thursday joined ships of the navies of India, Japan and the United States as it transited to Changi, Singapore, where the second phase of the ASEAN-Plus Defense Ministers’ Meeting Maritime Security Field Training Exercise (ADMM-Plus MARSEC FTX) 2019 will conclude on May 14.
The first phase of the maneuvers was held in Busan, South Korea from April 29 to May 2.
“BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17) joined in the quadrilateral sail together with Japan Maritime Self Defense Force vessel, JS Izumo (DDH-183) and JS Murasame (DD-101), Indian Navy Ships, INS Kolkata (D63) and Shakti (A57), and the United States Pacific Fleet vessel, USS William P. Lawrence (DDG-110),” Naval Task Group 80.6 public affairs officer Lt. Maria Christina A. Roxas said in statement.
The combined transit exercise aims to deepen the partnership and foster mutual understanding between participating navies. During the week-long transit, the ships conducted a series of training exercises and social interactions.
It will transit through the West Philippine Sea, where a conduct of “freedom of safe navigation” is applied in support of a rules-based international system benefiting all countries.
Also, this naval activity validates the decades of friendship, partnership and cooperative engagement that has been long established and observed between the Philippines, US, Japan and India.
“The group sail showed the active participation of the Philippine Navy as it strengthens its relationships with allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. This gives us another opportunity to learn from like-minded navies,” Naval Task Group 80.6 commander and PN head to ADMM Plus delegation, Capt. Roy Vincent Trinidad said.
Meanwhile, BRP Andres Bonifacio commanding officer, Capt. Jerry Y. Garrido said the activity highlights the PN’s commitment to maintain peace in the region.
Also, USS William P. Lawrence skipper, Commander Andrew J. Klug said “professional engagements with our allies, partners and friends in the region allow us the opportunity to build upon our existing, strong relationships, as well as learn from each other.”
In an official statement from the Indian Navy, the group sail was aimed at enhancing maritime cooperation, synergy of maritime engagements, sharing best practices and standardizing operating procedures.
On the other hand, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Escort Flotilla Division One commander, Rear Admiral Hiroshi Egawa said he proud that the JMSDF has participated in this historic activity. “I look forward for more engagements with our partners in the region,” the Japanese naval official stressed. (PNA)