Non-resident Italian defense attaché Navy Capt. Maurizio Pitton (left) and acting Philippine Navy flag-officer-in-command Rear Adm. Caesar Bernard Valencia (right) (Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)

MANILA – Italy is looking forward to expanding its defense partnership with the Philippines.

Non-resident Italian defense attaché Navy Capt. Maurizio Pitton made this commitment in an introductory call to acting PN flag-officer-in-command Rear Adm. Caesar Bernard Valencia last September 14.

"Capt. Pitton congratulated Rear Adm. Valencia on his recent designation as acting Navy chief, and looked forward to sustaining Italy’s defense partnership with the PN, particularly in terms of materiel and sharing of expertise," PN spokesperson Commander Benjo Negranza said in a statement Thursday night.

Pitton also echoed the priority thrusts of the Italian Armed Forces that involve keeping the sea lines of communication open.

"Rear Admiral Valencia shared the command’s satisfaction with how the multi-purpose AW-109 helicopters acquired from Italian manufacturer AgustaWestland have significantly advanced and modernized the PN’s conduct of its mandated tasks. The acting Navy chief also expressed high hopes to have a future agreement for the training of PN pilots with Italian counterparts," Negranza said.

He added the visit helped sustain the confidence between the Philippines and Italian defense forces which benefit the diplomatic ties between the two countries. (PNA)