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PHL warship to join naval drills in Indonesia

The Philippine Navy on Friday conducted a send-off ceremony for its naval warship, BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which will participate in a multilateral naval exercise in Indonesia next month.

The warship is set to travel to Mataram City, Lombok Island in Indonesia for the Multilateral Naval Exercise KOMODO (MNEK) 2018 on May 4 to May 9.

This is the third multilateral naval exercise that the Indonesian Navy will be hosting. Around 30 regional and non-regional navies from different countries will participate in the drills.

The send-off ceremony for the more or less 300-man contingent on board the warship was held at Pier 13, South Harbor in Manila and was overseen by Navy Flag Officer in Command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad.

Naval Public Affairs Office Director Captain Lued Lincuna said this is the first international defense and security engagement that will be participated in by the Navy for this year.

The contingent is expected to arrive at the Port of Lembar in Indonesia on May 4.

Lincuna said that the naval exercise is aimed at enhancing the "relationship and cooperation among participating navies in building common understanding about Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response (HADR) operations and will also focus on the Maritime Interdiction Operation."

The multilateral naval exercise, according to Lincuna, would also serve as a platform for the two navies to know how they can "cooperate and work together to address shared maritime security priorities through the development of combined naval tactics, techniques and procedures."

"This will boost cooperation along the borders of the neighboring countries to thwart transnational organized crime such as drug trafficking and terrorism," Lincuna said. —Marlly Rome Bondoc/KBK, GMA News