(Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)

MANILA – There is a pressing need for the Philippine Navy (PN) to be more capable of helping its partner nations in protecting the region's maritime security interests, its chief said on Friday.

"The continuous volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of the security environment indicate that the Philippines will have to become more capable and adaptive partners in protecting regional maritime interests," PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Adm. Adeluis Bordado in a statement.

This came as he welcomed missile-frigate BRP Antonio Luna and the 135-strong contingent aboard the ship during their arrival at Pier 15, Manila South Harbor on Thursday.

Bordado also expressed optimism that "the officers and men of FF-151 have returned home with a broader and more mature understanding of the role of the PN in the grand scheme of regional peace and security."

"The arrival marked the completion of the third participation of the Philippines in what is considered as the world’s premier and largest joint and combined naval exercise. As elaborated by the Navy Chief, the safe arrival of the officers and men of FF-151 and the learnings that they took home with them are indications of our success not only in promoting our maritime interests but also in conveying our support to a shared goal -- regional stability and maritime peace in the Indo-Pacific region, " PN spokesperson Commander Benjo Negranza said.

The PN contingent to this year's RIMPAC is headed by BRP Antonio Luna commander, Capt. Charles Merric Villanueva.

The ship left Guam for the Philippines last Aug. 20 after its successful Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) deployment from June 29 to August 4.

BRP Antonio Luna left Hawaii for Guam on Aug. 8 and arrived on the island on Aug. 17.

Negranza said RIMPAC provided the right venue for BRP Antonio Luna to put to test its four-dimensional warfare capability, and for the personnel to enhance their capacity in line with the PN’s thrust of pursuing modern platforms, systems, and mindsets.

"From June 29 to August 4, FF-151 and its crew, along with an embarked AW-109 helicopter, participated in various in-port and at-sea exercises which aimed to enhance combined interoperability with coalition/allied navies," he added.

Negranza said the PN's contingent's remarkable run in RIMPAC peaked during the Naval Surface Fire Support Rodeo when it notched the third best gunnery performance among 17 participating warships.

"Moreover, the PN was able to reinforce our diplomatic ties with different foreign counterparts during shipboard tours, sports events, and cultural exchanges," he added.

Negranza said this successful RIMPAC participation was another big leap in enhancing and advancing the organization’s core competency and operational capabilities in multilateral naval operations. (PNA)