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Philippine, Australian navies hold third series of sea drills

Roel Pareño - Philstar.com
Philippine, Australian navies hold third series of sea drills
The Philippine and Australian navies held their first joint maritime exercises in 2017 and another series in April this year.
Naval Forces Western Mindanao, released

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The Philippine Navy and the Royal Australian Navy kicked off Monday a third round of joint maritime and security exercises in the waters in Western Mindanao and Sulu to further upgrade capabilities against terrorism and piracy.

Col. Hernanie Songano, deputy commander for marine operations of Naval Forces Western Mindanao and Lt. Col. Judd Finger, commander of the RAN's Joint Task Force 629, led the opening of the exercise in a simple ceremony.

Songano, representing Rear Admiral Rene Medina, said the three weeks of exercies will include a series of maritime patrols in the Sea Lines of Communication — a term for primary maritime routes — particularly in the waters off the Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

Drills for crew readiness will also be done aboard the Philippine and Australian ships.

Songano said the PN will will deploy BRP Cebu (PS 28), BRP Anastacio Cacayorin (PC 381), BRP Dioscoro Papa (PC 381), BRP Filipino Flojo (PC 386) and BRP Gen. Mariano Alvarez (PS 38) while the RAN will use the HMAS Albany and HMAS Glenelg.

The joint cooperation and continuous conduct of maritime exercise with other navies in the region has helped the government against piracy, kidnappings and terrorism in Philippine seas, Songano said.

"The efforts of the military, particularly the engagement of the Fleet-Marine Team in the Western Mindanao, upholds the efforts of the government to maintain a safe maritime environment in Western Mindanao Command’s Area of Responsibility," Songano said.

It will be recalled that the PN and RAN held their first joint maritime exercises in 2017 and another series in April this year.

Medina said the success of the exercises even prompted the US to also conduct joint exercises with Naval Forces Western Mindanao.

NAVAL FORCES WESTERN MINDANAO PHILIPPINES-AUSTRALIA ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY
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