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Military exercises strengthens RP-Malaysian relations

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ISABELA CITY, Basilan, – The ten-day military exercises between the Philippine Navy and the Royal Malaysian Navy, which concluded March 25, has been beneficial to both parties and was a success in its purpose, the Naval Forces West (NFW) claimed. The activity opened on March 16.

The 6th Civil Relations Group of the AFP said in a statement that the military exercise, conducted annually with the Philippines and Malaysia alternately hosting the activity, aimed to “strengthen the relationship and enhance the mutual cooperation between the Philippine Navy and the Malaysian Navy through the development of combined operational doctrine, practices and naval tactics.”

Dubbed MALPHI-LAUT 14-11 and conducted as a two-part activity, the first five days, called the harbor phase, included the arrival of the Royal Malaysian Navy ships, the opening ceremony, staff training and indoor discussions and briefings.

The second part, called the sea phase, included ship maneuvers, boarding and seizure training, maritime interdiction operations, replenishment of provisions at sea, gun firing exercises and navigational and communication exercise.

Two navy ships and an Islander plane were used by the Philippine Navy and a team from its elite force, the Special Operations Group, participated in the exercise. Its Malaysian counterpart, on the other hand, brought in three fast attack craft and a team of its own elite force, the Pascal.

Another ship was provided by the Philippine Navy which served as the “contact of interest” of both parties.

“The military exercises held between the naval forces of the Philippines and Malaysia provided a big boost in our naval capability building and skills enhancement. We assure the people that the knowledge and abilities our men gained in the ten-day exercise will be employed to the optimum in carrying out their duties as protectors of our waters and maritime resources,” Western Command (WESCOM) Chief LtGen Juancho M. Sabban said.

It was also the second time the MALPHI-LAUT was held in Palawan: the first one was held in 1999. A sports competition between the participants was also held as part of the post-exercise phase.

Malaysia is also a claimant of the disputed Spratly Archipelago, a chain of potentially oil- and mineral-rich islands and islets. Others who claim the Spratly Islands, in whole or in part, are China, Taiwan, Brunei and Vietnam. (6CRGAFP/RVCarbayas-PIA9 BaSulTa)




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