By Priam Nepomuceno
MANILA — The Philippine Navy (PN) on Tuesday hosted a workshop that precedes the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), a biennial meeting of navies bordering the Pacific region.
PN flag-officer-in-command, Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, led the opening ceremony at the Rizal Ballroom of Makati Shangri-La Hotel which was attended by representatives from navies of 23 countries in the Western Pacific Region.
Bacordo was joined by PN chief-of-naval staff, Rear Admiral Rey T. Dela Cruz, chair of this year’s WPNS workshop which will run until Thursday.
Bacordo, in his opening remarks, described the WPNS as a “promising platform to enhance naval cooperation and establish maritime security initiatives among the Western Pacific Navies”.
He added the WPNS “demonstrates the sincere commitment to safeguarding peace and stability in our region”.
The preliminary workshop serves as an avenue to prepare and discuss the issues relevant to the symposium proper which will be held in May this year, also in Manila, to be attended by chiefs of navies of participating countries.
The WPNS 2020, to be hosted by the Philippines from May 19 to 21, is anchored on the theme, “Effective Ocean Governance for Regional Partnership and Stability”.
Dela Cruz described the theme as very significant “given the ever-evolving geopolitics of our maritime region, as well as the increasing complexity of existing challenges associated with it”.
“As a naval symposium in this part of the region, we treat ocean governance as a confidence-building maritime initiative whose principles are grounded on trust – the basis for effective communication and coordination between and among navies,” he added.
The WPNS aims to increase cooperation and the ability to operate together, as well as to build trust and confidence between navies by providing a framework to enable the discussion of maritime issues of mutual interest, the exchange of information, the practice and demonstration of capabilities, and the exchange of personnel.
Aside from the Philippines, other countries participating in the WPNS are Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Fiji, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam (PNA)