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Spey’s visit to Manila ensures UK-Philippine ties are ‘only going to grow’

A Philippines AW159 approaches HMS Spey from astern
1 March 2024
HMS Spey has paid a short but extremely fruitful visit to Manila in the Philippines on the latest leg of her Indo-Asia-Pacific odyssey.

The Philippines Armed Forces are going through a massive modernisation programme, Re-Horizon 3, which includes improving the ability to work together with allied and partner nations.

The patrol ship’s visit to the Philippines capital coincided with 13 of the UK’s leading defence firms such as BAE Systems, Thales and Leonardo showcasing their equipment and systems to hosts.

Crew took part in a string of professional and social interactions with the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard and local community, including a friendly game of football and 5-a-side matches at the Philippine Marine Corps Barracks in Fort Bonifacio. 

Staging the games was aided by ten football coaches from Football for Humanity, a UK-based ‘sport for development’ charity which uses football-focused interventions to tackle complex social issues.

The ship’s company hosted tours for Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard personnel, including officers who had recently graduated from a maritime planning course delivered by the Royal Navy in Manila in early February. 

“It’s been excellent to visit Manila and improve our ability to work together with colleagues from the Philippine Navy and Philippine Coast Guard,” said Commander Paul Caddy, Spey’s Commanding Officer.

“This is part of an increasing level of engagement. With Spey recently taking part in the multinational Exercise Sama Sama for the second time, it is clear that the relationship is only going to grow.

“The UK and Philippines firmly believe in, and promote the rules-based international system; we share an interest in upholding international maritime law and supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific."

We share an interest in upholding international maritime law and supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific

Commander Paul Caddy, HMS Spey’s Commanding Officer.

He discussed future cooperation in the region with Rear Admiral Cornelio of the Philippine Coast Guard before Spey sailed from Manila for joint manoeuvres with the host navy’s fast patrol vessel BRP Valentin Diaz and an AW159 helicopter – the export version of the Wildcat operated by our Fleet Air Arm. 

Spey’s visit to the republic came hot on the heels of two recent training delegations from the UK’s Armed Forces. The Army sent 20 Regular and Reservist comms and intelligence experts to mentor Philippines cyber specialists for the first time on the global ‘hacking’ war game, Cyber Marvel. It saw the best military coders/programmers on the planet. 

The exercise took international teams from Europe and the Indo-Pacific through their paces on a theoretical hacking attack against national infrastructure. 

This was the third visit to the Philippines by a vessel flying the White Ensign in the past 18 months – “a clear demonstration of our strengthening defence relationship,” said the UK Ambassador in Manila, Laure Beaufils

“We deeply value cooperation and growing seamless interaction with the Philippines on maritime issues.

“This supports security and our shared commitment to upholding the rules-based international system, as well as of trade and environmental protection.”


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