BY: LCOL EDGARD A AREVALO PN(M)
Director, Naval Public Affairs Office
The Exercise Southeast Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism (SEACAT) 2010 begins today, 18 June 2010 at 9 a.m. as Philippine Navy officers and personnel manned the communications equipment at the PN Headquarters in Manila and Changi Command and Control (C2) Center in Singapore. Over the next few days until the 24th, these personnel will be tracking the movement of participating air and surface assets of the US and Philippine navies as they undertake series of events aimed at enhancing their operability in combating terrorism and transnational crimes in the high seas.
For the first time since it began participating in military exercises with foreign armed forces, the Philippine Navy will employ its Virtual Private Network (VPN) in communicating and interacting with its foreign counterparts in Singapore. The VPN will pave the way for an efficient and better than before information exchange and link-up among the Philippine, Singaporean, and US Navies.
Beginning the 21st, US assets USNS Safeguard, USS Mellon (US Coast Guard vessel), and P-3 Orion will be entering the Philippines via Palawan and sail to Mindanao where participating air and surface assets of Naval Forces Western and Eastern Mindanao will engage USNS Safeguard, the designated target vessel in scenarios such as the Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) and Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO). These activities focus on information exchange, coordinated surveillance operations, locating, tracking, and intercepting enemies that allow participating navies to employ appropriate measures in dealing with terrorists, pirates, and other lawless elements at sea during real-life situations. Teams from the Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG) and the Coast Watch Stations will also be employed during the Exercise.
By undertaking the exercise, participating navies are exposed to techniques useful to combat maritime threats and fight lawless elements operating in the high seas. Exercise SEACAT enhances the navies’s cooperation and coordination in support of a cohesive response to terrorism, transnational crimes, and crimes in the high seas. The Exercise also contributes to ASEAN’s efforts in building peace and security in the region that has taken strong stance against terrorism and has remained vigilant in safeguarding its maritime territory from pirates, smugglers, and other criminal elements.