By Francis Wakefield
The visit of three Russian Navy (RN) vessels to Manila makes a tangible contribution to the peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific Region, Captain Sergey G. Alantiev, commander of Detachment of the Russian Pacific Fleet, said Monday.
The three Russian Navy vessels – the large anti-submarine ships Admiral Tributs and Vinogradov; and the large sea tanker Irkut – arrived Monday at Pier 15, South Harbor, Manila, for a five-day goodwill visit to the country.
The visit, Capt. Alantiev said, is aimed at further developing the naval cooperation with the Republic of the Philippines. He said the visit will also give them time to replenish supplies and give rest to the crew.
“I am glad to note that for the last years, friendly port calls of Russian and Philippine navy vessels have been taking place on a regular basis and by now have become a good tradition,”
Captain Alantiev said.
“It is clear evidence of successful implementation of relevant bilateral agreements at the highest level. Such port calls make a tangible contribution to the peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific Region,” he added.
Captain Alantiev expressed belief that the only way to cope with present-day threats and challenges is through partnership and by combining efforts and resources.
He mentioned international piracy and international terrorist threats as present-day risks and challenges they are facing.
The Russian Navy official said the program of the visit includes numerous important events. These include a wreath-laying ceremony at the monument of the Philippine national hero Jose Rizal and courtesy calls on Vice-Admiral Robert A. Empedrad, Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy, as well as the commanding officers of the Philippine Fleet and the Philippine Coast Guard.
He said top officials of the Department of National Defense, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs as well as the representatives of other governmental and social entities of the Republic of the Philippines, will be on hand for a ship tour.
“We attach big importance to the strengthening of mutual trust and friendly ties between the servicemen and servicewomen of our two nations. For this reason, tours of our ships will be arranged for officers and cadets of the Philippines Navy and the Coast Guard. Friendly sporting events are also in the pipeline,” Captain Alantiev said.
Captain Alantiev also said that he finds it highly symbolic that this visit occurs on the eve of the Day of Valor in the Philippines.
“We consider ourselves honored to be able to pay our deep respect to the World War II veterans of the Philippines. My country was deeply affected by that War which occupies a special place in our history. The memory of the veterans and the profound respect for their timeless heroic deeds are among the fundamental values that unite the Russian society at all levels,” Captain Alantiev said.
“I strongly believe that we share this approach with the people of the Philippines and through it we shall achieve a new level of mutual understanding and trust. I think this purpose will be best served by holding an Open Door Day on April 9,” he added.
Meanwhile, Philippine Navy’s Staff Officer for Education and Training, Capt. Constancio Arturo Reyes Jr. thanked the officers and men of the Russian Navy for visiting the country once again.
Reyes said the arrival of their Russian Navy counterparts underscores the continuing efforts to further strengthen the relationship between the two governments and navies.
“This (visit) will further enhance and sustain the promotion of peace, stability and cooperation through naval diplomacy. During the visit there will be confidence building activities aimed to enhance the camaraderie among our navies. We are looking forward to further strengthening this bilateral relationship to the next level,” Reyes said.
Captain Jonathan V. Zata, director of the Naval Public Affairs Office, said large anti-submarine ships Admiral Tributs and Vinogradov, and large sea tanker Irkut, will be at Pier 15, South Harbor, Manila up to Saturday, April 13, 2019.
Prior to the Russian ships’ arrival, Philippine Navy (PN) vessel BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16) rendered customary meeting procedure at the vicinity of Corregidor Island and escorted the vessels to their designated berthing area.
PN delegates led by Capt. Reyes then accorded the visiting Russian Navy (RN) a welcome ceremony upon arrival.
The activity was followed by a port briefing on security and health aboard one of the Russian ships.
During the press briefing, Capt. Reyes emphasized that the activity is part of the continuing efforts to further strengthen the relationship between the two navies.
On the other hand, Capt. Alantiev stated that their visit “is clear evidence of successful implementation of relevant bilateral agreements at the highest level.”
Zata said Capt. Alantiev and the commanding officers of the three vessels are scheduled to pay a courtesy call on Empedrad at the PN headquarters on Roxas Blvd., Manila.
Also lined up are confidence-building activities between the visiting navy and their Filipino counterparts which include a shipboard tour, reciprocal receptions, sports events and joint training on live firing demonstration and VBSS (Visit, Board, Search and Seizure) with Naval Special Operations Group personnel.
Zata said this is the second visit of RN ships in the country this year following their goodwill visit in January. This visit also came shortly after the visit to the country of their commander in chief, Admiral Vladimir Korolyov, last month.
“This reception is another manifestation of the PN’s commitment in promoting naval diplomacy and camaraderie and fostering goodwill with foreign navies,” Zata said.
“The frequent engagements between the Philippine and Russian navies in the recent years have been helpful in the development of diplomatic relations between the two countries,” he added.