Members of the Philippine Navy’s Special Warfare Assault Group inspect a trawler for explosives or illegal weapons Tuesday, July 22, 2009 near Pilas group of islands in the Sulu Sea off Zamboanga City. Admiral Alexander Pama, a regional navy chief, has ordered an intensified patrol in the troubled region following the recent bombings of the Marriot and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Indonesia and the spate of bombings in Mindanao and Sulu in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)
==== ~~~ ====Navy deploys new vessels to Mindanao
By Bong Garciahttp://www.sunstar.com.ph/zamboanga/navy-deploys-new-vessels-mindanao
THE Philippine Navy has deployed two of its three newly acquired Multi-Purpose Attack Crafts (MPACs) boosting security in the southern Philippines area.
The deployment came after its crew has completed the familiarization and aboard ship training, which are needed in handling and maneuvering such type of vessel.
Last Saturday, a group of local reporters, mostly national correspondents from Zamboanga City and from the Defense Press Corps (DPC) covering Camp Aguinaldo were given the opportunity to ride the brand-new vessels.
The others who joined the ride were two Basilan town mayors and policemen.
The group was ferried from Majini pier of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (Navfowesmin) headquarters to Basilan province.
The reporters covered the visit of Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, who conferred with civil and military officials as the military braces for an all-out war against the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Basilan as well as in Sulu.
Escorted by two machine gun-mounted rubber inflatable boats, the MPACs' crew showed to the reporters the maneuver capabilities while traveling to Basilan province from Zamboanga City.
The captain of the ship periodically advised the passengers to "brace yourselves, we are changing formation" or while increasing speed as they maneuvered.
Philippine Navy spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Edgard Arevalo earlier disclosed that the each unit of the machine gun-mounted MPAC can cruise at top speed of up to 42 knots and can load up to 20 fully armed Marine Force Recon or Navy Seal teams.
Arevalo said the MPACs will beef up the much needed floating assets in Palawan and Mindanao to run after violators of maritime, environmental, anti-drug, tariffs and customs, and immigration laws.
The deployment of the two MPAC units boosts the capability of the Navforwesmin in guarding the southern frontier.