Philippine Navy flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr. (left) and Royal Malaysian Navy chief Admiral Datuk Abdul Rahman Bin Ayob (Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)

MANILA – The modernizing Philippine Navy (PN) will be seeing more interoperability and coordination with its Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) counterparts in the future.

This came after RMN chief Admiral Datuk Abdul Rahman Bin Ayob paid a visit to PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Toribio Adaci Jr. at the Navy headquarters Manila on Monday.

"Along with their respective staff, the two Navy leaders had productive discussions about the long-standing ties between the two ASEAN countries, as well as future engagements to strengthen cooperation and interoperability between the two Navies," PN spokesperson Capt. Benjo Negranza said in a statement Tuesday.

He added that Rahman was grateful for another opportunity to visit the Philippines and expressed his appreciation of interactions and exercises that mutually benefit both naval forces while helping solidify their relationship.

"Vice Admiral Adaci also conveyed his appreciation to the RMN and emphasized to pursue further engagements and opportunities that contribute to the enhancement of respective capabilities," Negranza said.

Buy local

Meanwhile, Senator Francis Escudero called on the Philippine Navy to prioritize the acquisition of locally made ships to be used as floating hospitals and rescue boats during calamities.

In a news release, he said he supports the Navy modernization plan and is all for a stronger Navy.

“I am (a) great fan of our sailors. But the reality is we cannot realize our submarine dreams if what we have is a salbabida (floater) budget," Escudero said. "Perhaps when our finances improve, then we can give the Navy the ships it deserves. With economic buoyancy comes the ability to buy more Navy ships.”

For now, Escudero said the government should increase its inventory of boats that can be used for disaster response and relief.

The Department of National Defense (DND) reiterated last year that the procurement of submarines is not a priority.

"Although submarines are on our wish list, the Department is prioritizing the implementation of contracts signed during the previous administration, cognizant of the limitations in the resources available to the government,” the DND said in a statement, adding that it was recalibrating proposed projects under the Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization program. (PNA)