CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Felimon T. Santos Jr. led the fourth Philippine Rise Anniversary Commemoration on Wednesday, 10 June 2020 in Santa Ana, Cagayan.
“We are celebrating the fourth anniversary of the Philippine Rise and for the years that our dedicated soldiers have continued to protect one of the country’s most precious maritime areas. We commemorate this anniversary to raise awareness of its importance, to maintain marine conservation and protection, and to assert our sovereign rights,” General Santos said.
The AFP Chief also presided over the send-off and blessing ceremony for the Philippine Navy’s maritime vessel BRP Quezon (PS70) and the Naval Task Unit 11.6.1. The contingent led by Commander Junmar Sales is tasked to navigate and safeguard the areas of the Philippine Rise.
Prior to their deployment, the troops were presented and inspected by General Santos. A readiness report was also presented to the Chief of Staff by Commodore Caesar Bernard Valencia, Commander of Joint Task Force – Karagatan.
“With confidence and pride, we are also sending-off a maritime patrol vessel to navigate and safeguard these areas of the Philippine Rise. As a pioneer in maritime protection, the Armed Forces is certain that NOLCOM will vigorously pursue all possible means to strengthen the protection of the area/ in order to achieve their purpose of securing our State and protecting our people,” said General Santos.
The activities were held at Port Irene, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). Governor Manuel N. Mamba of Cagayan graced the activity and praised the AFP for its loyalty, competence and commitment as protectors of the country.
“The AFP has the utmost respect and trust of the Cagayanos more so because the local government units of our province continue to party with you in support of the president’s call for the institutionalization of a whole of nation approach to end the local communist armed conflict and the adoption of a nationwide peace framework for our country,” said Governor Mamba.
Present in the ceremony were Mr. Avelino Natividad, representative of CEZA; Lieutenant General Ramiro Rey, Commander of Area Task Force – North; Major General Pablo Lorenzo, Commander of 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army; and Police Brigadier General Angelito Casimiro, Regional Director of PRO2. Also in attendance were local government officials of Cagayan and senior military officers of the AFP General Headquarters and Northern Luzon Command.
“As the Chairman of the Regional Peace and Order Council, I am confident that with the presence of our maritime troops, we shall prevail with our endeavour to protect our sovereignty and national interest over the Philippine Rise and our Exclusive Economic Zone,” Governor Mamba said.
It has been eight years since the country was recognized of its sovereign rights over the Philippine Rise. In previous anniversaries the AFP through the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) successfully achieved historical milestones to assert that the maritime feature belongs to the Philippines. An all-Filipino maritime scientific research was made possible in 2019 while an underwater flag was successfully placed on the plateau in 2017 and 2018.