By Martin Sadongdong
The Philippine Navy (PN) welcomed on Thursday the Naval Forces West (NFW)’s Troop Rotation and Reprovisioning (RORE) Mission Team with BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS17) as the platform after more than a week of traversing the vast waters of the West Philippine Sea (WPS) to reach the respective Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) detachments.
A simple ceremony was held at the Oyster Bay Detachment in Ulugan Bay, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.
Commodore Renato David, commander of the Naval Forces West, said it regularly conducts troop rotation and reprovisioning missions “to sustain the operational mandate of the Command and to uplift the morale of the personnel deployed at KIG [Kalayaan Island Group].”
The Naval Forces West is the Philippine Navy’s primary operational command securing the West Philippine Sea, which is considered as the forefront of territorial defense operations at the KIG or Spratly Islands.
David noted that they want to ensure the humane living condition of the troops in the area as they play a vital role in defending the country’s western frontier.
The welcoming party was headed by Captain Francisco Tagamolila Jr., the Deputy Commander for Fleet Operations; and Colonel Antonio Mangoroban Jr., the Deputy Commander for Marine Operations.
“Your long stay in the islands is truly a personal sacrifice in your part that no monetary reward can compensate. Every hour you spent in the island is an hour lost to your loved ones or family,” said Mangoroban, who also serves as the commander of the Naval Task Force 42 that is in-charge of the KIG detachments.
Captain Lorenzo Bolor, commanding officer of the BRP Andres Bonifacio and Head of Mission for the said RORE, brought home the NFW mission team led by Lieutenant Gerry Miguel.
The event was highlighted by the awarding of medals for the outgoing KIG security personnel as the command’s recognition for their “selfless duty performed during their stint in the far-flung islands.”
Further, the NFW mission team was also awarded as an appreciation to the accomplishment of their mission.