THE Philippine Navy (PN), through the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM), and the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) are holding a five-day Maritime Training Activity (MTA) in Mindanao.
The activity dubbed as the "MTA MALPHI-LAUT 18/15," which reeled off Monday and ends on August 28, involves the conduct of various exercises ashore and afloat in Zamboanga City and in the Moro Gulf.
Rear Admiral Primitivo Gopo, NFWM commander, said the primary objective of MTA is to enhance interoperability between the PN and RMN forces and develop better understanding and cooperation between the two navies.
Gopo said the MTA consists of three phases with main focus on maritime security and transnational crime. It involves the participation of 157 PN sailors and 136 RMN sailors.
The first phase or the harbor phase is from August 24 to 25 that comprises the arrival of the RMN ships at the NFWM headquarters, 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 August 26 to 27 involves combined ship maneuvers to address various contingencies at sea.
The third phase is from August 27 to 28 and involves the MALPHI sports cup activity, closing ceremony, the Great Sta. Cruz Island tour, and departure of RMN ships.
The MTA MALPHI-LAUT is an annual bilateral training activity between the PN and RMN ships, aircraft, and special operations units whereby the two navies alternately host the conduct of the activity.
This year's MTA, which is hosted by the PN, will be the 18th training activity to be conducted since the signing of the Defense Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippines and Malaysia in 1994.
The PN and the RMN annually conduct MTA MALPHI-LAUT to strengthen the relationship and enhance mutual cooperation between the two navies through the development of combined operational doctrines, practices and naval tactics.