Participants to the Philippine Navy-Vietnam People's Navy Personnel Interaction 2019 on September 10, 2019, on Pugad Island in the West Philippine Sea contested region. (Photo courtesy of Naval Forces West PAO)

The Philippine Navy (PN) and the Vietnam People’s Navy (VPN) have completed the fifth iteration of their personnel interaction for confidence-building and cooperation activity on September 10 on Pugad Island (Southwest Cay) in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

In a statement sent Saturday by Naval Forces West (NFW) public affairs office chief Lt. Commander Cecilio Gines, it is said that the 5th PN-VPN Personnel Interaction 2019 was hosted by Vietnam “as part of sustaining the 2015 Joint Statement on the Establishment of a Strategic Partnership between the Philippines and the socialist republic.”

Personnel from the Philippine Navy and Vietnam People’s Navy participate in a jolly game of tug-of-war to step up friendly relations during the PN-VPN Personnel Interaction 2019 on Pugad Island in the West Philippine Sea. (Photo courtesy of Naval Forces West PAO)

“It is to promote stable maritime security, safety regimen, and promote cooperation in pursuit of peace in the West Philippine Sea,” the statement said.

The Philippine Navy was represented in the interaction by a contingent from the NFW in Palawan composed of personnel of BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS17) headed by Capt. Francisco Tagamolila, the commander of Naval Task Force 41 (NTF41).

Capt. Francisco Tagamolila (left in navy uniform), commander of Naval Task Force 41, is welcomed on Pugad Island by officers of the Vietnam People’s Navy on September 10, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Naval Forces West PAO)

They were welcome on Pugad Island by Senior Capt. Nguyen Viet Thuan, deputy commander of the Naval Region 4 Vietnam People’s Navy.

The opening for the interaction included a visit to the temple for prayers for peace and tranquility in the region, cultural exchanges, and sports to enhance friendly relations between the two navies.

Pugad is a northwestern edge islet in the WPS region that is part of the North Danger Reef measuring 12 hectares occupied by Vietnam.

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