The Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) held a solidarity maritime patrol over the Philippine (Benham) Rise on Saturday in the commemoration of the 123rd Independence Day and celebration of the fifth anniversary of the undersea feature’s renaming.
National Security Adviser Sec. Hermogenes Esperon Jr., who also chairs the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS), served as guest of honor in the activity and an earlier ceremony at Clark Air Base, Pampanga.
Esperon, Nolcom chief Lt. Gen. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, and members of the NTF-WPS rode an Air Force C-295 aircraft escorted by two FA-50 fighter jets, one of which was co-piloted by PAF commanding general Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes. The planes flew over buoys in the Philippine Rise.
“It is our way of collectively asserting our sovereign rights and territorial integrity,” Burgos said of the activity.
Earlier, Esperon also inspected various air assets from the Air Force, Navy, Army, and Coast Guard that are regularly used to conduct patrols in the vast maritime domain in the Nolcom’s area of responsibility, Burgos said.