Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), has applauded the Philippine Navy (PN) contingent which participated in the recently concluded Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise in Honolulu, Hawaii.
In a statement on Friday, September 3, the PN said Gapay met through video conference with the Naval Task Group 80.5 who were aboard the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) to congratulate them on their successful stint at the largest maritime warfare drill held from August 17 to 31.
“Naipakita ninyo sa iba’t-ibang sandatahang lakas, sa iba’t-ibang bansa ang galing ng sundalong Pilipino (You’ve shown to the different armed forces from other countries the caliber of Filipino soldiers),” Gapay told the troops, who are preparing to sail back home.
Gapay enjoined the contingent to impart the proficiencies that they have gained from the training exercises with the objective of augmenting the scope of capabilities of the PN in fulfilling its mandate as the first line of defense of the country’s maritime territories.
He also emphasized the importance of the modernization of the PN’s fleet to cope with the changing maritime security landscape.
“Given the fast-paced transformation in the maritime domain security in recent years, both locally and globally, the acquisition of the BRP Jose Rizal is a timely upgrade to the Navy’s current assets and definitely amplifies our capabilities in terms of maritime operability and readiness for potential threats to our territories,” the AFP Chief stated.
Meanwhile, the NTG 80.5 members led by Captain Jerry Garrido Jr., skipper of BRP Jose Rizal, related to Gapay some memorable experiences during the RIMPAC exercises.
Garrido also lauded the members of NTG 80.5 for their “dedication in promoting the PN’s objective of strengthening relationship and multilateral ties among foreign navies.”
The virtual activity was also witnessed by PN flag officer in command, Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo; Navy vice commander, Rear Adm. Rey Dela Cruz; Philippine Fleet commander, Rear Adm. Loumer Bernabe; PN chief of naval staff, Rear Adm. Adeluis Bordado, and Fleet-Marine Ready Force commander, Brig. Gen. Armel Tolato.
The contingent trained alongside their counterparts from nine countries to enhance their interoperability.
Bacordo said the PN’s participation in the RIMPAC 2020 Exercise “echoes the AFP’s commitment in promoting multilateral cooperation leading to the strengthening of relationship and cooperation among regional and extra regional navies.”