Navy sends vessel to join 70th anniversary of Chinese PLA-Navy
The Philippine Navy sent its first Strategic Sealift vessel to join the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (Chinese PLA-Navy) from April 22 to 25, 2019.
Capt. Jonathan Zata, Philippine Navy spokesman, said a send-off ceremony for BRP Tarlac ( LD-601) and its personnel at the South Harbor was held Monday.
“The participating contingent involves a 400-man Naval Task Group under Captain Francisco Tagamolilla,” he said.
“Aside from LD-601, it is composed of a helicopter detachment, Philippine Military Academy cadets from the graduating class of 2019, and student officers from studying under various naval training programs,” he added.
Zata said “during their stay in Qingdao, the contingent is scheduled to participate in various activities, such as courtesy calls, professional exchanges, shipboard reception and tour, friendly games and cultural exchanges.”
“The LD-601, which is expected to arrive in China on April 21, will be joining ships sent by other participating navies from Asia and other parts of the world,” he said.
Zata said, in a brief given to senior leaders of the navy, Flag Officer In Command (FOIC) Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad said the contingent to Qingdao were sent to demonstrate the country’s commitment “to take that extra mile and then take another extra step, towards a peaceful, stable, and rules-based order in Southeast Asia”.
“It is the Philippine Navy’s way in undertaking a calibrated and nuanced engagement process with the People’s Liberation Army Navy in an effort to build trust between two professional navies,” Empedrad said.
“I am confident that such process will receive a welcome traction and will definitely evolve to a more open and more friendly relationship towards that extra step in addressing bilateral concerns on the ground in a more trustful manner" he added.
Zata stressed the importance of sending Philippine Navy ships and contingents to the event.
“It is the uncompromising resolve of the Command to uphold the country’s maritime interests amidst rising challenges. Sending naval contingents to international naval engagements is a prime opportunity to further increase the skills of navy personnel and the capacity of the organisation to extend its operational reach for a stronger and more credible navy,” he said. Robina Asido/DMS