By Francis Wakefield
A joint naval exercise between the Philippine Navy (PN) and the United States Navy formally started Monday with a ceremony onboard BRP Tarlac (LD 601) at Pier 1, Poro Point, La Union.
The ceremony was graced by Armed Forces of the Philippines-Northern Luzon Command (AFP-NoLCom) chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel B. Salamat as the guest of honor and speaker,
Joining Salamat in the activity is Commodore Nichols A. Driz, Naval Forces-Northern Luzon commander; United States Rear Adm. Murray Joe Tynch II, commander of the Logistics Group Western Pacific, Task Force 73, Singapore area coordinator and Japanese Navy Captain Masahiro Goto, the Maritime Operations and Plan, Department Operations Support Division chief of Planning Section.
The exercise, dubbed as Maritime Training Activity (MTA) “Sama-Sama”, will last until July 16, 2018. It involves sailors and marines from NF-NL, PN, Task Force of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, as observer.
The exercise will be conducted in the area of Northern Luzon Command within the provinces of La Union (particularly at Headquarters Naval Forces – Northern Luzon (NF-NL) in Naval Station Ernesto Ogbinar, San Fernando City, in Zambales, including Cavite.
“This training provides us with an exceptional opportunity for both Philippine and US Navies to engage in a broader range of maritime operations and unique scenarios in our maritime areas,” Salamat said.
“In this way, we could explore for more cooperation, enhance our interoperability, and provide us effective mechanisms for collaboration and partnership of our Navies in the spirit of our mutual treaty engagement,” he added
Salamat said NoLCom naval forces, through the Naval Forces – Northern Luzon, will continue to participate in International Defense and Security Engagements (IDSE) to ensure its operational readiness and interoperability to maintain peace, security and stability in the region.