ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Zamboanga City Air Force and Naval troops under the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) hosted air and maritime patrols with Malaysia and Australia on Monday, March 12.
As part of the Trilateral Cooperative Arrangement (TCA), Lieutenant Colonel Acmad Omar of the Philippine Air Force led the trilateral air patrol (TAP) as head of the Combined Mission Patrol Team, with Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Hallara and Lieutenant Colonel Azman Aris of the Royal Malaysian Air Force serving as members, along with some support personnel.
Aboard Philippine Air Force’s C295 #129, the team departed at 10:00 am from the Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga City and the patrol was conducted over the area of maritime interest.
“This month’s air patrol is the second hosting of the TAP by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the sixth overall joint patrol which is rotated among the 3 countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines,” said Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command.
Prior to their departure, members of the Combined Mission Patrol Team paid a courtesy call to Brigadier General Agusto Dela Peña, commander of the Tactical Operating Wing.
The trilateral air patrols of the TCA were scheduled on March 12 and 23, 2018.
An observer from Malaysia joined the air patrol on March 12.
“The WestMinCom, through the Joint Task Force IndoMalPhi, Naval Forces Western Mindanao, and Tactical Operation Wing Western Mindanao, will continue to support the implementation of the various activities and patrols under the trilateral agreement,” added Galvez.
The Naval Forces of Western Mindanao provided line handers and picket boat with NAVSOU seal while the Marine Battalion Landing Team-11 provided a squad for port security upon the arrival of Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Broome, HMAS Launceston, and Philippine Ship 38 at Zamboanga City Pier at 8:00 am.
By 8:30 am, Rear Admiral Rene Medina received the staff of the Joint Task Group 629 and the Australian Embassy, headed by Matt Kimberley, during their courtesy call at the naval headquarters.
Earlier, PS38 conducted a Meeting Procedure for Entering Harbor with HMAS Broome and HMAS Launceston at 3.8 nautical miles southeast of Tictauan Island and guided them to Zamboanga City Pier.
The opening ceremony of the 2nd Combined Philippine Navy-Royal Australian Navy Maritime Security Engagement took place at the NFWM Officers’ Club at 11:00 am.
A coordinating conference followed at the Officers Clubhouse of HNFWM commenced.
PS38 left Zamboanga City Pier bound for Tawi-Tawi to participate in the MSE at the Naval Task Group Tawi-Tawi area of operations at 4:00 pm. HMAS Broome and HMAS Launceston followed soon after, bound for Tawi-Tawi to participate in the same exercise.
“Our command will continue to support joint exercises among units and agencies within the joint area of operations in order to strengthen our security measures,” said LtGen Galvez.
“It is important that we prepare for future eventualities by strengthening our ties with allies. Establishing interoperability measures are also very vital in guarding our territorial borders.”
“We will maximize learning and our soldiers will continue to train and improve through these joint activities,” added the WestMinCom chief. – Rappler.com