CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac City -- The Area Task Force - North under the National Task Force - West Philippine Sea, and the Northern Luzon Command together with the local government officials of Cagayan province celebrate the commemoration of Philippine Rise through a send-off ceremony of Maritime and Air Patrols at Port Irene, Sta Ana Cagayan on June 10, 2020.
The celebration commemorates the 4th Anniversary of the renaming of Benham Rise to Philippine Rise since President Rodrigo Roa Duterete issued Executive Order 25 last May 16, 2017, and the 8th year after the Philippine Rise was awarded to the country as it was granted the sovereign rights by the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by the United Nations over the said maritime area last April 2012.
The Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Gen Felimon Santos Jr., served as the Guest of Honor and Speaker during the program and send-off ceremony of Philippine Navy contingents of the Naval Task Unit 11.6. to conduct Maritime Patrol (MARPAT) and Maritime Air Surveillance in the Philippine territorial waters.
The Barko ng Republika (BRP) Quezon and Naval Aircraft 320 will be utilized for the patrolling in order to better protect and assert our sovereign rights over our maritime area.
Gen Santos highlighted the significance of the Philippine Rise to our country's sovereignty and freedom. During his speech, he said, “We commemorate this anniversary to raise awareness of its importance, to maintain marine conservation and protection, and to assert our sovereign rights."
Commander of Northern Luzon Command and Head of Area Task Force - North, LtGen Ramiro Manuel Rey said, "We, the whole of NOLCOM and ATF-North, will see to it that our territorial waters and maritime interests are secured, our services are at the disposal of the Filipinos if needed."
ATF-North is an inter-agency coordinating body which plans and executes programs of the government in relation to maritime domain awareness, maritime security patrols and maritime presence over the Bajo de Masinloc in the West Philippine Sea, Luzon Strait in Batanes Province and the Philippine Rise east of Aurora Province.
Northern Luzon Command is one of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Unified Commands that is mandated to Combat Terrorism, Insurgency, secure and protect the country's sovereign territory in its area of responsibility, the whole Northern and Central Luzon including its territorial waters. (NOLCOM, AFP)