Philippine warship to join Brunei, Singapore maritime exercises

8:15:00 PM
MANILA, -- The Philippine Navy will send one of its two warships to Brunei and Singapore to participate in counter-terrorism and maritime exercises next month.

The warship, BRP Gregorio del Pilar, a former US cutter, will depart the country this week, according to Lt. Cmdr. Marineth Domingo, the Navy's acting public affairs officer.

Domingo said BRP Gregorio del Pilar will leave Manila South Harbor's Pier 13 on Wednesday following a send off ceremony. It will be joined by a Navy helicopter and about 120 troops, among them personnel from the Naval Special Operations Group.

The warship will first participate in a counter-terrorism exercise in Brunei and Singapore from May 1 to 12, then proceed to another naval exercise with Brunei from May 10 to 17.

"This 11-day multi-lateral exercise will be focusing on maritime security and counter-terrorism," Domingo said, referring to the first exercise dubbed ASEAN Defense Minister's Meeting-Plus Maritime Security and Counter-Terrorism Exercise 2016.

During the exercise, BRP Gregorio del Pilar will participate in a sea-storming or surface operations," including a Visit, Board, Search and Seizure training, Domingo said.

On the other hand, the second exercise, dubbed Maritime Training Activity Seagull, "aims to enhance the interoperability and building [of] defense capability," said Domingo.

BRP Gregorio del Pilar was acquired from the US in 2011, followed by its sister ship BRP Ramon Alcaraz two years later.

The two are the most capable ships of the Navy at present and are assigned to patrol the disputed areas in the South China Sea.

The Philippine Navy Gregorio del Pilar class frigate.

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