18th training activity between PN, RMN now ongoing (Philippines News Agency)

This year’s Maritime Training Activity (MTA) between the Philippine Navy (PN) and the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), which formally started on Monday, is the 18th joint naval drills since the signing of the Defense Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippines and Malaysia in 1994

The annual bilateral training activity between the PN and RMN ships, aircraft, and special operations, dubbed as “MTA MALPHI-LAUT 18/15,” will last for five days or until Aug. 28. It is taking place at the waters under the control of Naval Forces Western Mindanao, specifically Moro Gulf.

Both navies alternately host the naval exercise.

Rear Adm. Primitivo Gopo, Naval Forces Western Mindanao commander, said the five-day naval drills seek to enhance interoperability between the PN and RMN forces and develop better understanding and cooperation between the two navies.

“MTA MALPHI-LAUT 18/15” consists of three phases with primary focus on maritime security and transnational crime.

Gopo said the first phase is the harbor exercises which is from Aug. 24 to 25 and comprises the arrival of the RMN ships at the Naval Forces Western Mindanao headquarters in Zamboanga City and attendant courtesy calls; communications protocol discussion; opening ceremony; subject matter expert exchange lectures; special operations activities; naval aviation training and operations planning activities.

The second phase or the at sea serials is from Aug. 26 to 27 and involves combined ship maneuvers to address various contingencies at sea.

The third phase from Aug. 27 to 28 involves the MALPHI sports cup activity; closing ceremony; the Great Sta. Cruz Island tour; and departure of RMN ships.

This year’s MTA involves the participation of 157 PN and 136 RMN sailors. (PNA)