By Martin Sadongdong
A 300-strong contingent was sent by the Philippine Navy (PN) to Vladivostok, Russia Monday to participate in a naval parade for the Russian Navy Day celebration which will be held from July 24 to 29.
Rear Admiral Loumer Bernabe, PN Chief of Naval Staff, oversaw the send-off ceremony for the Navy’s landing dock ship, BRP Davao del Sur (LD602) with Helicopter Detachment Afloat (HDA), at Pier 13, South Harbor, Manila. The contingent is set to arrive at the Russian port on July 24.
“This is a follow-up of our first port visit last year which hopes to broaden our horizon on capacity building,” Bernabe said.
In October 2018, a Philippine naval vessel visited Russia’s Pacific Fleet headquarters in Valdivostok for a five-day goodwill visit.
Bernabe said the engagement will be an opportunity for the Philippines to “continue and strengthen our bilateral military cooperation and diplomatic relationship” with the Russian Federation and other counterparts.
The visit will also serve as an avenue “to explore resolutions on issues and concerns” faced by maritime countries, he added.
This year, the contingent was headed by Captain Richard Gonzaga as he was accompanied by sailors and marines from the different units of the PH Navy.
Captain Jonathan Zata, PH Navy spokesperson, said the Filipino sailors and marines are also expected to visit Russian naval facilities “to exchange expertise especially with the scheduled visit in one of their submarines.”
“It is also a prime opportunity for sailors and marines of the contingent to hone their sea-keeping skills, foster good relationship with their counterparts and be ambassadors of goodwill in performing the navy’s diplomatic role,” Zata stated.
“This is to emphasize that we are a maritime nation with an enormous task of maintaining and sustaining rapport with like-minded countries for the security and stability within the region,” he added.