(L-R) USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) and BRP Jose Rizal (FF150) conduct bilateral sail in waters west of Palawan in this photo released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Sept. 4, 2023. (Courtesy of AFP)

The Philippine Navy (PN) and United States Navy (USN) are holding a bilateral sail in the waters west of Palawan nearly a month after the tense water cannon attack by China Coast Guard (CCG) on Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Monday, Sept. 4, that the bilateral sail was a testament to the “robust maritime cooperation” between the two allied countries.

“The activity is done under the Mutual Defense Board – Security Engagement Board framework that aims to develop operational interoperability between the navies of the two countries,” Lt. Col. Enrico Gil Ileto, chief of AFP public affairs office, said.

The PN’s guided-missile frigate BRP Jose Rizal (FF150) and USN’s Arleigh Burke-class guided missile-destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) were involved in the bilateral sail.

Ileto said that the AFP’s Naval Task Force 41 and the US 7th fleet will carry out a “division tactics rehearsal” to enhance the interoperability between the two navies. 

“In particular, this event aims to provide an opportunity for the Philippine Navy and the US Indo-Pacific Navy to test and refine existing maritime doctrine and demonstrate their defense capabilities in line with the shared commitment of upholding peace and security in the Indo-Pacific Region,” he explained.

The activity took place nearly a month after the CCG fired a water cannon on two supply boats chartered by AFP to deliver food and other provisions to troops onboard BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal, WPS last August 5.

Ileto said that the AFP will continue to be involved in bilateral and multilateral activities with other countries that will contribute to the organization’s capability development to perform its mission of protecting the country’s national sovereignty and national territory. (MB)




Source: https://mb.com.ph/2023/9/3/ph-us-navies-sail-together-in-palawan