President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. reiterated on Friday his commitment to ensure the welfare of the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and their families as he led the commemoration of the 125th anniversary of the Philippine Navy (PN).
“And so, to the brave men and women of our Navy: in fulfilling your duties and mandates, be agents and exemplars for our citizenry by working for unity and by championing respect for our Constitution and the rule of law,” President Marcos said in his speech at the Philippine Navy Headquarters in Manila.
“Rest assured that as your Commander-in-Chief, this Administration will work tirelessly not only to improve the Armed Forces, but also in looking for ways and means to improve your individual welfare and those of your families and loved ones as well.”
The President paid tribute to the Navy as an institution and to the men and women behind it, both uniformed and civilian, for continuing the noble cause of defending the Republic’s sovereignty and keeping the peace.
He acknowledged their achievements and accomplishments over the years, especially in securing the archipelago from Batanes and the Kalayaan islands, the Philippine Rise, to the West Philippine Sea.
Marcos also recognized not only their progressive naval and amphibious warfare skills, but also the humanitarian acts that are inherent to the Navy’s calling.
In honoring Friday’s awardees, he said: “We recognize today’s awardees whose individual exemplary performances are a source of inspiration and a spur to improvements for the institution and its ranks.”
The President also mentioned the changing tides of national security, which he said, compelled the Armed Forces to speed up modernization and recalibrate its focus more towards external defense of the nation’s borders.
“In this crucial transition, full support for the Armed Forces must be guaranteed, especially for the Philippine Navy’s priority goals of enhancing its intelligence, defense, and coordinative capabilities,” said Marcos.
Two PN vessels, Patrol Gunboat (PG) 903 and PG 905, were also commissioned Friday.
The vessels, which will be deployed in the Visayas and Mindanao, will address gaps in operational support against transnational crimes and protecting territorial integrity and maritime interests.
“With the commissioning of the two vessels today, we look further forward to the completion of the AFP Modernization Program, particularly its Horizon 3, which is significantly devoted to the naval aspect of our military operations,” said the President, expecting the move to transform the AFP into a stronger, more modern and formidable organization.
The Philippine Navy was formally established on May 1898 when the Filipino flag was hoisted on one of the vessels of the Philippine revolutionary navy during the revolution against the Spanish colonizers.
“Off-Shore Patrol”, a naval component of the Philippine Army was expanded and became a major service of the AFP. In 1951, it was named “Philippine Navy” with expanded objectives and resources.
Currently, the PN has seven operational commands: Naval Forces Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Central, West, Western Mindanao, Eastern Mindanao, and Fleet-Marine Ready Force, and 14 support and command units.
As of May 15, the Navy has a total strength of 26,830 officers, enlisted personnel, and candidate soldiers, supported by 1,378 civilian employees. PND