The Philippine Navy (PN) took the title of champion in the communications drill challenge of the first-ever ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise (ACMEX). The win came on October 26, the last day of ACMEX’s sea-sub phase. The PN was represented in the exercise by its Naval Task Force 88.
According to NTF head Capt. Sherwin Respeto, the win was announced on Saturday during the after-action assessment following the exercise at Ma Xie Naval Base in Zhanjian, China.
“The Naval Task Group 88, with the efforts of the command team and the support of both of the BRP Dagupan City (LS-551) personnel and task group crew, were able to easily respond to the communications challenges sent over the radio network, besting other participants, as part of testing the integrity of the communications established during the series of exercise briefings,” Respeto said in a statement Saturday.
ACMEX was hosted by the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Singapore Navy. The communication challenge was spearheaded by China’s People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLAN-N). The exercises took place between October 21 and 28. ACMEX is the first multi-lateral exercise conducted between the maritime forces of China and the ASEAN member states.
Following the after-action assessment during which the PN win was made known was the closing ceremony for ACMEX. Vice Admiral Wang Hai, Commander of the Naval Forces Southern Theatre Command, spoke at the ceremony.
The win is significant for the PN as it proves the Philippines’ capabilities to inter-operate as its force modernizes.
The Philippines’ participation in the multi-lateral exercises signify openness to cooperation and collaboration with other navies, particularly for the ongoing disputes in the West Philippine Sea. Currently, the Philippines and China are discussing joint exploration plans for the territory, which is being claimed by 7 nations. These are Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Brunei, China, and the Philippines.
The Philippines recently proposed a 60-40 sharing scheme for partnership with China.
Philippine Navy has previously participated in multilateral naval exercises in Indonesia, Hawaii,and Australia, as well as goodwill visits in Russia and South Korea.
The PN sent a 200 strong contingent to ACMEX. They sailed to Zhanjian earlier this month aboard the BRP Dagupan City.