By Abigail Kwok
Interaksyon, Wednesday, June 15, 2011
MANILA, Philippines - Naval forces from various Southeast Asian countries and the United States are holding joint combined exercises in a bid to improve interoperability and share best practices.
The Philippine Navy has joined the respective navy forces of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the United States for the annual Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercises that will be held from June 14 to 24 in the Malacca Strait, Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea. In a statement Tuesday, the Philippine Navy said its units from the Naval Forces West (NFW), Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (NFEM), and Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) will participate in scenario-driven fleet training exercises against terrorism, transnational crimes and other maritime threats.“Three ships from the three Naval forces of the Philippine Navy will participate in this year’s exercise,” said Navy Captain Sebastian Pan.SEACAT is a yearly combined exercise conducted along vital sea lanes in Southeast Asia to ensure their control from terrorists, poachers, and transnational lawless elements."With this training, the Philippine Navy will be able to enhance regional coordination, information sharing, and combined inter-operability capability with participating navies in the region, test its personnel and naval assets' operational readiness and ultimately, improve the defense capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines," the Philippine Navy said.