MANILA – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr. called for more military presence in the country's northernmost province of Batanes.
Teodoro said a higher "operational tempo for the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines)" would be implemented starting this year, the Naval Forces Northern Luzon (NFNL) said in a statement Tuesday night.
This came after Teodoro visited the military's naval detachment in Mavulis Island and inspected the ongoing construction of the Naval Forward Operating Base Mahatao in Batan Island on Tuesday.
He was joined by AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. and other ranking military officials.
Teodoro’s visit highlights the importance of fortifying the country's territorial defense capabilities, which is required in protecting the nation, the NFNL added.
"He also called for the development of more structures, noting that Batanes is the 'spearhead' of the Philippines as far as the northern baseline is concerned," it said.
The NFNL said Teodoro also called for strengthened interagency cooperation between the AFP and other agencies, especially the local government units, to protect stakeholders such as fisherfolk and other maritime-related agencies.
Meanwhile, Brawner thanked the soldiers deployed in Mavulis Island for their dedication to their duties and selflessness in taking on the remote assignment.
“What you’re doing here in Mavulis is essential to our territorial defense, in safeguarding our sovereignty, and in the performance of our mission as protector of the people and the state. I am very thankful to all of you,” he added. (PNA)