MANILA – As the Philippine Navy celebrates its 118th founding anniversary Wednesday, PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Caesar Taccad emphasized the need to focus further on territorial defense as serious threats against the country’s maritime interests are now emerging.
“Today, the enemy stands at our doorstep and we can no longer over-exaggerate the urgency of the threat against our maritime interests and possibly our territorial integrity. The need for our country to bring more focus to territorial defense is more pronounced than ever, a need which we have to answer to even while we are addressing our internal security problems,” he stressed.
This is an obvious reference to the country’s territorial row in the West Philippine Sea.
“Our Commander-in-Chief (President Benigno S. Aquino III) once said, what is ours is ours, sir, rest assured that your navy will abide by its duty to defend and protect what is rightfully ours,” Taccad stressed.
The Chief Executive was the guest-of-honor and speaker in the Navy’s 118th founding anniversary Wednesday.
Aquino also headed the commissioning ceremonies for the country’s first strategic sealift vessel, the BRP Tarlac (LD-601) and three ex-Royal Australian Navy landing craft heavies who were named BRP Agta (LC-290), BRP Iwak (LC-289) and BRP Waray (LC-288).
All four ships will be assigned to the Sealift Amphibious Force of the Philippine Fleet.
The PN chief also took this opportunity to express the entire PN’s appreciation to the Chief Executive for his efforts in modernizing the Navy.
“Allow me sir to take this time to express the gratitude of all the men and women of the navy for the support and faith you have given us. Under your leadership, the Navy saw an unprecedented momentum in the upgrade of our capability since the modernization program started. Year after year, we saw the outpouring of support as our government acquired more and more assets, platforms, and hardwares to boost our navy’s capability,” Taccad stressed.
“We have built better facilities and naval bases the boosted our naval defense posture, within only six years, we were able to add to our inventory the two Del Pilar-Class frigates, the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), five AgustaWestland AW-109 helicopters, three multi-purpose attack craft, and most recently our first landing dock vessel, the BRP Tarlac and five landing craft heavy from Australia namely BRP Waray, BRP Iwak, BRP Agta, BRP Ivatan, and BRP Batak,” he added.