By Priam Nepomuceno

MARITIME PATROL. Philippine Navy ships BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PS-15), BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16) and BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) in line formation during the second iteration of the AFP-USINDOPACOM maritime cooperative activity in West Philippine Sea on Wednesday (Jan. 3, 2024). The two-day bilateral event which runs until Thursday (Jan. 4) consists of passing exercises, communication checks, cross-deck exercises, joint patrols, officer of the watch (OW) maneuvers, and fixed-wing flight operations. (Photo courtesy of AFP Western Command)

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP) and the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) on Wednesday held their second “maritime cooperative activity” (MCA) in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

In a statement Wednesday, AFP public affairs office chief Col. Xerxes Trinidad said the two-day bilateral event which runs until Thursday consists of passing exercises, communication checks, cross-deck exercises, joint patrols, officer of the watch (OW) maneuvers, and fixed-wing flight operations.

Trinidad said the AFP deployed four Philippine Navy vessels, a search-and-rescue/multi-role helicopter, and an anti-submarine warfare capable helicopter.

On the other hand, the USINDOPACOM utilized four US Navy vessels from the Carrier Strike Group 1– an aircraft carrier, a cruiser, two destroyers, and multiple combat aircraft.

The first MCA between Philippines and the US took place from Nov. 21 to 23 last year and involved naval vessels and aircraft from the two countries.

Meanwhile, AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said the second MCA is a significant leap between the Philippines-US alliance and their interoperability.

“It also demonstrates our progress in defense capabilities and development as a world-class armed force, as we carry out our mandate to protect the people and the state. Our alliance is stronger than ever, sending a message to the world. We are advancing a rules-based international order and a free and open Indo-Pacific Region in the face of regional challenges,” he added. (PNA)