Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Philippine Navy to add more vessels in Eastern Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, May 10 (PIA) -- The Philippine Navy is planning to deploy two more naval assets at the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (NFEM).

Captain Robert Empedrad, NFEM deputy commander said yesterday during the Club 888 media forum at Marco Polo Davao, that among the planned additional vessels includes a large patrol ship and a patrol craft.

NFEM’s area of jurisdiction covers the Eastern Mindanao area from the waters off Polloc in Maguindanao, Davao, Surigao, and up to Camiguin.

It has nine naval assets, the largest of which is the patrol ship BRP Magat Salamat (PS-20) while others are smaller but faster patrol crafts. The Magat Salamat is notable for being headed by Commander Luzviminda Camacho the first lady commanding officer of the Philippine Navy.

Empedrad said that the assets are sufficient enough to patrol the coasts of eastern Mindanao; most of the maritime problems involve piracy, poaching, illegal fishing, and human smuggling. For a year now, there has been no piracy incident reported.

Currently, they are planning to strengthen naval presence in Surigao with plans of putting up a naval detachment in Taganito, Surigao del Norte where New People’s Army guerrillas attacked several mining firms late last year.

Empedrad said that unlike areas in the West Philippine Sea where the country is embroiled in a dispute with China there are currently no border disputes between Indonesia who shares a common maritime border within the jurisdiction of NFEM.

He says that the Philippine Navy has built a good relationship with the Indonesian Navy and is conducting annual border patrol exercises under the Border Patrol Agreement signed by the two countries 36 years ago.

The first of the annual border patrol exercises was conducted last April 28 to May 3 participated by about 100 Philippine Navy personnel and the patrol ship Magat Salamat joined by the Indonesian patrol vessel KRI Sura along with 47 Indonesian Navy sailors and officers.

Aside from exercises with the Indonesian Navy, the NFEM will also be hosting the United States Navy-Philippine Navy “Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training” (CARAT) Exercise 2012 this coming June 28- July 9 in Glan, Sarangani Province. 
Rudolf Ian G. Alama | Philippine Information Agency | May 10, 2012 | Article Link

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