By Priam Nepomuceno

MARITIME COOPERATION. BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (left) and USS Gabrielle Giffords sail within the Philippine exclusive economic zone during the third Maritime Cooperative Activity at West Philippine Sea on Friday (Feb. 9, 2024).  The activity underscored both nations’ commitment to reinforce security and stability across the Indo-Pacific region. (Photo courtesy of Western Command)

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) successfully conducted the 3rd Maritime Cooperative Activity (MCA) in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) on Friday.

The latest bilateral activity underscored both nations’ firm commitment to reinforce security and stability across the Indo-Pacific region.

The MCA is part of a series of operations designed to foster enhanced interoperability between the two allied forces, with a concentrated focus on advancing maritime security and heightening maritime domain awareness.

Participating units included the Philippine Navy’s BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PS 15) with an embarked AW109 Naval Helicopter and the US Navy’s USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) with an MH-60S Seahawk Helicopter onboard.

During the MCA, a series of exercises were conducted, including a passing exercise, communication exercise, photo exercise, division tactics, and officer of the watch maneuvers, all designed to improve the coordination and cooperation between the two forces in various maritime scenarios.

Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, commander of the Western Command (Wescom), lauded the completion of the latest MCA.

“These cooperative ventures serve not just as training for our forces at sea but as a clear signal of our shared resolve to maintain regional peace and security,” he said in a news release. (Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)