Marcos declares AFP’s recalibration to external security defense

(Photo from Bongbong Marcos / Facebook)

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Friday declared the recalibration of the country’s defense focus to external security as he expressed full support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization program.

Speaking at the 125th Anniversary celebration of the Philippine Navy in Manila headquarters, Marcos feted the Filipino navies who have “exemplarily fulfilled their mandates and duties” to defending and securing the Philippine archipelago “from Batanes and the Kalayaan islands, the Philippine Rise, to the West Philippine Sea.”

“Considering the changing tides of our national security and the significant gains that we have made in terms of internal security, our armed forces is working to recalibrate its focus more towards the external defense of our borders,” Marcos said in his speech.

“In this crucial transition, full support for the Armed Forces must be guaranteed, especially for the Philippine Navy’s priority goals of enhancing its intelligence, defense, and coordinative capabilities,” he added.

During the ceremony, the Philippine Navy commissioned two of its “acero-class vessels” namely Patrol Gunboat 903 and Patrol Gunboat 905, which will respectively be deployed in Visayas and Mindanao.

These vessels will mainly address gaps in operational support against transnational crimes and protect the territorial integrity and maritime interests of the country.

“With the commissioning of the two vessels today, we look further forward to the completion of the AFP Modernization Program, particularly its Horizon 3, which is significantly devoted to the naval aspect of our military operations,” Marcos said.

Philippine Navy Chief, Vice Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr., said the commissioning of these vessels symbolizes the “promising future” of the country’s maritime defense and military efforts toward enhanced capabilities, increased resilience, and stronger presence in the Philippine maritime domain.

“I extend our gratitude to the national leadership for making this possible and for the continued support to our Navy as we realize our vision of becoming a modern and multi-capable naval force,” Adaci said.

In May 1898, the Philippine Navy was formally established following the hoisting of the Philippine flag in one of the Filipino revolutionary navy vessels during the revolt against the Spanish colonizers.

The “Off-Shore Patrol” which was previously a naval component of the Philippine Army was expanded and became a major service of the AFP. In 1951, it was named the “Philippine Navy” with expanded objectives and resources.

Adaci said the Philippine Navy has become instrumental in enhancing maritime security, promoting humanitarian assistance and disaster response efforts, and fostering international cooperation since then.

“Today, we commemorate the legacy of those who came before us, the pioneers who laid the foundation of our Navy, and the heroes who selflessly served our nation. Their sacrifices and contributions have shaped the Philippine Navy into a resilient force, one that stands ready to defend our nation’s territorial integrity and uphold regional peace and stability,” Adaci said.

The Philippine Navy has currently seven operational commands namely Naval Forces Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Central, West, Western Mindanao, Eastern Mindanao, and Fleet-Marine Ready Force, and 14 support and command units.

The country’s naval force has a total strength of 26,830 officers, enlisted personnel, and candidate soldiers, supported by 1,378 civilian employees, as of 15 May.

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