Puerto Princesa, Palawan
27 May 2014

President Benigno S. Aquino III underscored the sacrifices of the uniformed men and women of the Philippine naval force as he graced the 116th anniversary of the Philippine Navy in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

“Talaga pong mahirap ang buhay sa barko, subalit wala na po sigurong mas hihigit pang pagsubok sa inyo kundi ang mawalay sa pamilya habang nasa serbisyo. Wala sa mga kamay ninyo ang pagpili kung saan kayo madedestino; malapit man o malayo sa inyong mga mahal sa buhay, kailangan pa ring pumalaot at gampanan ang inyong mga tungkulin,” the President stated.

Being aware of these sacrifices and the importance of the Philippine Navy in the country’s maritime trade and security, the President said that it is only appropriate to provide them with facilities that will empower their capability in safeguarding the nation.

The Commander-in-Chief viewed the newly-upgraded Naval Forces West Command Center (NFWCC) fully-equipped with up-to-date technology including the weather and media monitoring device, asset tracking system, Downlink System, Satellite-Based Maritime Surveillance System, and video teleconferencing system.

President Aquino also highlighted the significance of celebrating, for the first time, the anniversary of the Philippine Navy in the Naval Forces West in Palawan. He explained, “Ito po ang pangunahing operational command ng Philippine Navy na nagbabantay at nangangalaga sa West Philippine Sea. Ito ang nasa harap ng ating territorial defense operations sa Kalayaan Island Group.”

The President capped his speech by reminding his “Boss” that, even most of the time unseen, the members of the Philippine sea forces are continuously upholding their mission of protecting the Filipino people.

During the anniversary program, the Chief Executive bestowed awards to seven distinguished people who played exemplary deeds for the Philippine Navy. Among the awardees are Lt. Jovy Iringan, PN (Distinguished Aviation Cross), Lt. Ferdinand Gato, PN (Distinguished Navy Cross), LTJG Sherwin Bulahan, PN (Distinguished Navy Cross), Lt. Col. Rodel Martires, PN (M) (Distinguished Navy Cross), TSG Olegario Paredes PN (M), Bronze Cross Medal, Municipality of Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-Onon Jr. (Plaque of Appreciation) and State Solicitor Emmanuel Caluyo (Plaque of Appreciation).