The Philippine Navy (PN) will hold a send-off ceremony today for logistic support vessel BRP Dagupan City (LC-551) and the 300-man contingent who will participate in the first-ever maritime exercise between the People’s Republic of China and ASEAN members states on 21 to 28 October in Zhanjiang, China.
According to Navy spokesman, Commander Jonathan Zata, the send-off event will be held 7:30 a.m. at Captain Salvo Pier, Naval Base, Cavite City.
The exercise, dubbed as ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise 2018, will be hosted by the Republic of Singapore Navy and China’s People Liberation Army Navy.
It aims to provide military exchanges between ASEAN member states navies and their Chinese counterpart.
The exercise will focus on maritime safety and search-and-rescue at sea with emphasis on the use of Code of Unplanned Encounters at Sea.
BRP Dagupan City has a displacement of 4,265 tons at full load, are 273 feet long, has a draft of 12 feet and has a top speed of 12 knots. It was commissioned in PN service in the 1990s.
Defense spokesman Arsenio Andolong earlier had said the proposal for a joint ASEAN and Chinese naval exercise was submitted during the ASEAN Defense Minister Meeting in Singapore in February this year.
Early this month, the Philippine Navy vessel BRP Tarlac had made a historic port call to Vladivostok, Russia on 1 October as part of President Duterte’s foreign policy pivot to Russia and China.
PN spokesperson Commander Jonathan Zata, said the Philippine contingent conducted “a series of confidence-building activities” with their Russian counterparts.
Military officials saw this development as a “great platform” to advance Russian-Philippine navy ties and also Manila’s wider approach to strengthen partners with other navies to address common challenges.