MANILA --- The successful participation of the frigate BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF-16) to the just-concluded 'Kakadu' naval exercises in Darwin, Australia shows the Philippine Navy (PN) can compete with ships from more modern navies, a naval official said Monday.
'(The) FF-16 was able to show to the whole world that we can stand equally and at par with the first world countries even with our older ships,' PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad said during the welcoming ceremony for the ship and the 200-man contingent to the exercises at Pier 13, Manila South Harbor.
'Kakadu' is considered as Australia’s largest maritime exercise hosted biennially by the Royal Australian Navy, which aims to promote greater levels of military cooperation and understanding among regional nations.
Participants in this year's exercise, held from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15, included 24 naval vessels and 21 aircraft from 26 countries.
This is the third time the PN participated in this exercise since its inception in 1993, and the second time for BRP Ramon Alcaraz since 2014 when it was sent for the same exercise as its maiden overseas deployment following its acquisition in 2013.
'Kakadu 2018' is also the third International Defense and Security Engagement participated in by the PN for this year alone after Exercise 'Komodo' in Indonesia in May and the RIMPAC Exercise in Hawaii from June to August.
Empedrad said this is a concrete manifestation of a Navy that is steadily improving and modernizing and is further validated through various exercises done ashore and aboard ship, which provided an avenue for both sailor and marine components to prove they can keep up with the best navies in the world in the conduct of naval maneuvers and fleet tactical exercise.
'Moreover, it provided an opportunity to reinforce our diplomatic ties with different foreign counterparts and get in touch with the Filipino community there,' he said.
During her time at 'Kakadu', BRP Ramon Alcaraz spent 23 days at sea, logging in more than 500 hours steaming time, while traversing more than 5,763 nautical miles. (PNA)