Spanish Navy ship in PH for goodwill visit

MANILA The air defense frigate Mendez NA�Aez (F-104) of the Armada EspaAola (Spanish Navy) arrived in Pier 15 of the Manila South Harbor on Thursday for a goodwill visit to the Philippines.

Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, Philippine Navy (PN) acting public affairs office director, said the Spanish frigate was provided with the customary meeting point procedure off Corregidor Island and was later escorted to its berthing area.

This marks the first time a Spanish Navy warship has sailed off Cavite and Manila after the post-independence period.

The F-104 is an Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate, manned by more than 200 sailors and led by Commander Antonio Gonzalez del Tanago de la Lastra.

The PN delegates, headed by the Navy Chief's representative Commander Kenneth LozaAes, then accorded the visiting ship and its personnel a welcome ceremony, followed by a port briefing related to security health aboard the Spanish vessel.

Roxas said the Mendez NA�Aez's commanding officer and his party are scheduled to call on the PN Flag Officer in Command, Vice Adm. Robert A. Empedrad, at the Navy headquarters along Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

This goodwill visit will also involve confidence-building engagements between the PN and Spanish Navy personnel, such as a shipboard tour, reciprocal receptions, and friendly games.

A send-off ceremony with customary Passing Exercise (PASSEX) will cap off the visit. Their interaction with the PN will conclude on September 7 and they will proceed to Baler Bay in Quezon Province for the V Centenary commemoration of the first circumnavigation of the globe by Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastian Elcano and the arrival of Spain to the Philippines.

This goodwill visit aims to develop and enhance the PN's cooperation with the Spanish Navy geared toward capability development.

It further celebrates the two countries' deep historical ties and reaffirms diplomatic relations established in September 1947, which opened opportunities for economic, cultural and educational agreements. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency