President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Tuesday, January 14, led the ceremonial deployment of two navy ships that will be used to repatriate overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East affected by the tension between the US and Iran.
Speaking before Philippine Navy personnel during the send-off ceremony at Pier 14 in Port Area, Manila, President Duterte said the Navy’s mission attests to the courage and indomitable spirit of the country’s soldiers and the Filipino nation to overcome any challenge or adversity.
As the mission brings home OFWs who exemplify the very best of Filipino excellence and professionalism as migrant workers, the government recognizes the Navy’s efforts to alleviate the suffering of Filipinos in times of need, according to the President.
“Your enduring commitment to provide timely, efficient and responsive humanitarian and lifesaving efforts to our people, wherever they are in the world, is truly noteworthy,” the President said.
“May your selflessness and dedication to duty inspire patriotism and integrity among our citizenry, so they may also do the same to their fellow kababayans.”
President Duterte expects the Philippine Navy to exert all efforts and work hand in hand with the Secretary of the Department of National Defense to encourage affected Filipinos in the Middle East to return to the Philippines or be evacuated to safer grounds.
He told Navy personnel that the administration would continue implementing programs that will enhance the capacity and efficiency of the Philippine Navy as the government pursues a more prosperous and peaceful society.
“Together, let us continue to embody solidarity as we chart a better and brighter future for the next generation,” he added.
The two navy ships, BRP Davao del Sur (LD602) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16) with an onboard helicopter form the Naval Task Group (NTG) 82 with around 400 sailors and marines. The task force group is headed by Col. Noel D. Beleran.
The BRP Davao del Sur is one of the largest vessels in the Philippine Navy while the BRP Ramon Alcaraz has modern capability to provide security to the mission. The ships are expected to arrive in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 25 days, with layover in Sri Lanka for refueling and replenishment.
The deployment of two navy assets is in support to the AFP Joint Task Force mission in the Middle East in line with interagency initiative Oplan Pagbabalik aimed at saving lives and bringing home OFWs in Iraq, Iran and other parts of the Middle East.