MANILA, — Philippine and Japanese ships are set to conduct a naval exercises in the waters off Palawan on Thursday, a Navy official said.
Lieutenant Commander Marineth Domingo, Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office Chief, said Philippine Navy’s flagship BRP Ramon Alcaraz would conduct a passing exercise (Passex) with Japan Defense Ship Hatakaze, a destroyer from the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force.
Alcaraz and Hatakaze were both participants in Kakadu 2014, an international naval exercise that the Royal Australian Navy hosted on August 25 and until September 12.
Domingo said the two ships would conduct the Passex while en route to their separate ports.
Alcaraz would set for Manila after a quick visit in Zamboanga while her co-participant Hatakaze would set for Japan from Singapore.
“Passex gives us an opportunity to not only practice what we might be called upon to do, but the chance to establish a professional relationship with our allies making us a more capable force working together at sea,” Domingo said.
“A passing exercise is composed of sea drills done between two navies to ensure synchronization of communication and cooperation between the participating navies in combined naval operations.”
She added that the naval exercise is not meant to provoke China, which has been in a territorial struggle with the Philippines.
“It has nothing to do with the South China Sea dispute, this is mainly for training purposes,” Domingo said. “This is still part of the Kakadu exercises.”
Kakadu 2014 is not yet entirely over for Alcaraz and Hatakaze as the two has not yet returned to their respective home ports.
Domingo said that the two ships just happened to pass by the South China Sea.
“This is for training purposes to improve our capacity, our interoperability with the navies protecting our maritime region,” she said.
Philippine Navy BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force ship JS Hatakaze (DDG 171).