15 Philippine Navy chiefs gather in one photo


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15 Philippine Navy chiefs gather in one photo
Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado says he always welcomes their guidance and support

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado and 14 of his predecessors are gathered in a photo released on Saturday, February 4.

It was taken during a reunion dinner held Friday night, February 3, at the Manila Yacht Club, according to the navy. 

Mercado, rightmost front in the photo, told Rappler the dinner was meant to welcome him to the roster of the country’s Flag-Officer-In-Command or “FOIC” as they are called in the military. 

“We always meet. I welcome their guidance and support,” Mercado told Rappler. He is the 36th FOIC of the Philippine military.

In the front row of the photo, from left, are are Caesar Tacad, Seraptio Martillano, Tagumpay Jardiniano, and Mercado.

In the back row of the photo are, from left, Jose Luis Alano, Victorino Hingco, Ferdinand Golez, Mateo Mayuga, Eduardo Santos, Luisito Fernandez, Ernesto De Leon, Rogelio Calunsag, Danilo Cortez, Alexander Pama, and Jesus Millan. 

Navy’s crucial role 

The Philippine Navy has embarked on a modest modernization campaign, acquiring in recent years 3 former US Coast Guard ships to beef up maritime patrols. Two brand new warships are also in the pipeline. (READ: South Korea’s Hyundai to build 2 brand new warships for the PH Navy)

Military modernization got a boost from the previous Aquino administration amid threats from China’s aggressiveness in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). 

As President Rodrigo Duterte warms ties with the Asian superpower, the defense establishment said the navy’s assets will be used to help in the fight against terrorism in southern Mindanao. 

Local group Abu Sayyaf is notorious for operating in the waters of the country’s southern borders, kidnapping foreigners in their yachts and from resorts in the islands of nearby countries.

Duterte’s defense chief, Delfin Lorenzana, vowed the navy’s modernization will be sustained. – Rappler.com

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