By Martin Sadongdong
A contingent from the Philippine Navy (PN) is set to sail for Honolulu, Hawaii next week to participate in this year’s “Rim of the Pacific” (RIMPAC) Exercises, which is considered as the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise.
Capt. Lued Lincuna, Navy spokesperson, said the strategic sealift vessel BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) and frigate BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17), along with its AgustaWestland AW-109 naval helicopter, will join RIMPAC 2018 scheduled from June 27 to August 2.
The sea assets will be joined by a Naval Special Operations Group team and a Marine company, Lincuna added, which will leave for Hawaii on Wednesday, June 6.
“The PN’s participation in this undertaking is expected to advance its maritime operational capability to multilateral levels, thereby increasing readiness and interoperability and enabling the nation’s premier maritime force to be more effective and efficient in the conduct of its mandated task,” Lincuna said.
The contingent, which is being called the Naval Task Force (NTF) RIMPAC, will be commanded by Capt. Ernesto Baldovino while the mission head will be Commodore Toribio Adaci.
He stated that the Navy contingent has left Pier 13, Manila South Harbor for Cebu before sailing to the Hawaiian training area.
A Royal Malaysian Navy ship will then join NTF RIMPAC from Cebu and will link up with the Indonesian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and Royal Australian Navy along the way for the ASEAN-Group Sail en route to RIMPAC 2018.
“The NTF RIMPAC will be further complemented by components of the Civil Military Operations, and students from various PN training schools, among others,” Lincuna said.
Ahead of the sail, Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla, deputy chief of staff for plans, J5, visited the BRP Davao del Sur on Thursday to give insights and encouragements to the Navy contingent.
Furthermore, Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad, chief of the Navy, also visited the BRP Davao del Sur on Monday to inspect the readiness of the troops and the ships prior to its overseas deployment for the RIMPAC Exercise 2018.
The RIMPAC 2018, the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971, is held biennially from June to July in Honolulu, Hawaii. For this year, it carries the theme “Capable, Adaptive, Partners.”
The RIMPAC 2018 is the second international defense and security engagement for the Navy this year, according to Lincuna. The PN also participated in the Multinational Exercise Komodo 2018 in Indonesia early May, he said.