Naval exercises in Basilan and Sulu set this week

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 24 October) — Naval exercises to “test our existing doctrines in the planning and execution of Seabees operations” are set to begin here on Monday, October 25.

Rear Admiral Toribio Adaci, Jr., commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) in a telephone interview Sunday said the naval exercises, dubbed “Pagsisikap Exercises 2021,” will open here on October 25, but events are to take place in Basilan and in Sulu where it would close on October 29. A post-event assessment is set in Zamboanga City.

Naval exercises dubbed “Pagsisikap Exercises 2021” will open in Zamboanga City on October 25 but activities will be held in Basilan and Sulu where it will close on October 29. Map courtesy of Google Maps

He was referring to wartime and peacetime doctrines in the conduct of amphibious operations, maritime interdiction operations, surveillance and reconnaissance of the maritime areas, civil-military operations, and a host of other traditional and non-traditional naval operations that need to be tested whether they will be retained or amended.

“There will be events launched from the sea using amphibious assault vehicles traveling from the sea to the shoreline, carrying the Marine forces,” Adaci said, adding that there will be firing of naval guns, and Spike Extended Range (ER) missile, with all targets positioned at sea.

Adaci said the Pagsisikap Naval Exercises 2021 will be participated in by131 officers, 748 enlisted personnel, 24 reservists, and 42 Navy Seals, or 945 men in the Philippine Navy, involving the Fleet units or those nine naval ships deployed in Western Mindanao, Marine Amphibious Ready Unit (MARU) aboard the Navy’s biggest ship Landing Dock BRP Tarlac (LD601), one helicopter, and a civilian-owned ship.

Navy Captain Alan Javier,  Director of Exercise Pagsisikap 2021 and concurrent commander of Naval Task Force 62, said, the Philippine Navy through NFWM “will showcase the capability of the Fleet-Marine concept in the planning and execution of naval and amphibious operations in the littoral battle space.”

He said the exercise will also include activities that will highlight the integral role of inter-agency collaboration in the conduct of maritime and naval operations.

Lt. Senior Grade Chester Ross Cabaltera, NFWM Acting Public Affairs Office spokesperson, shared that as prelude, the NFWM’s Fleet-Marine forces aboard Landing Dock BRP Tarlac and its attached Marine Amphibious Ready Unit from the Philippine Marines, and Navy Seals from the Naval Special Operations Unit 6, conducted rehearsals on Amphibious Operations last October 21 at sea adjacent to Naval Station Romulo Espaldon (NSRE) in Zamboanga City.

The rehearsals, he said, were intended to prepare the sailors and marines for the  week-long  Exercise Pagsisikap 2021 covering NFWM’s areas of operations particularly in the littoral areas and seawaters off Basilan and Sulu. The amphibious operations rehearsals simulated a mock raid at the NSRE Beach area.

Adaci said the at-sea events will test the mettle of the Philippine Navy’s warships and crew. He explained that a civilian boat, acting as a critical contact of interest, will pose as a target vessel in interdiction operations during this week’s Naval Exercises.

Compliance with health protocols are strictly to be observed during the During the exercises, he said. (Frencie Carreon / MindaNews)