MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) on Sunday said country’s hosting of the 17th Western Pacific Symposium (WPNS) and the International Fleet Review (IFR) is indefinitely postponed to a later date due to coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
“We (are) sending notice now to the different navies that we are going to postpone indefinitely the conduct of the 17th Western Pacific (Naval) Symposium and the International Fleet Review to a later date,” PN flag-officer-in-command, Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said.
The 17th WPNS was supposed to be held from May 19 to 21 while the IFR is slated to be conducted off Manila Bay waters on the last day of the symposium.
Bacordo said 31 countries have so far announced that they are attending the WPNS with 17 navies expressing their intentions to join the IFR.
He said the scheduled hosting of the WPNS and IFR was supposed to be the Philippines’ first and will coincide with the PN’s 122nd founding anniversary on May 20.
“This is our measure to ensure the health and safety of the participating navies,” Bacordo said.
He earlier said the WPNS is a confidence-building measure that aims to show that navies can work together for a common cause.
The WPNS aims to increase cooperation and the ability to operate together, as well as to build trust and confidence between navies by providing a framework to enable the discussion of maritime issues of mutual interest, the exchange of information, the practice and demonstration of capabilities, and the exchange of personnel.
The entire Luzon and some other areas of the country are under 30-day enhanced community quarantine due to the deadly Covid-19. (PNA)