BRP JOSE RIZAL IN HAWAII. The Philippines' first missile frigate BRP Jose Rizal docks at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii on Saturday (Aug. 15, 2020). The BRP Jose Rizal will participate in this year's Rim of the Pacific exercise to be held off the waters of Hawaii from August 17 to 31. (Photo courtesy of the Naval Public Affairs Office)

MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN)'s first missile-frigate, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), has safely arrived on Saturday (Manila time) at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii for the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise set from August 17 to 31.

"While entering Pearl Harbor, the crew of FF-150 conducted manning the rail and further rendered a salute to USS Missouri and USS Arizona in honor of the fallen heroes during World War II," PN public affairs office chief Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas said in a message to the Philippine News Agency.

The PN contingent was welcomed by the officials from Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu, Hawaii, led by Consul General Joselito Jimeno.

In line with coronavirus disease (Covid-19) protocols, the PN contingent was not allowed to get off the ship.

Instead, the task force commander and skipper of BRP Jose Rizal, Navy Capt. Jerry Garrido talked with the Consul General via telephone after the ship was safely moored.

Garrido thanked the Consul General for the warm welcome given to them.

He added that he considers the incoming RIMPAC20 maneuvers as an opportunity to "provide the PN with the latest training and techniques in modern naval warfare.”

"FF-150 will be moored for three days to the port for logistical purposes with the personnel not leaving the ship.

This is to observe health and biosafety protocols in ensuring the welfare of around 120 sailors and aviators due to the Covid-19 pandemic," Roxas said.

She added the RIMPAC20 exercise will be executed purely at sea. All key components of Naval Task Force 80.5 shall simultaneously participate in the surface, air, sub-surface, and maritime security operations serials of the exercise.

"The exercise will give a unique training opportunity for the participating nations including the PN to enhance their proficiency to integrate into an international force and improve readiness to contribute to a wide range of potential coalition operations," Roxas said.

She added the PN, through this participation, aims to advance its maritime operational capability to multilateral level thereby increasing readiness and inter-operability. (PNA)