Batanes produces 119 more Navy reservists

Batanes produces 119 more Navy reservists

/ 05:38 AM March 10, 2024

Over 100 Batanes residents have formally entered the reservist forces of the Philippine Navy as the country aims to boosts its military presence in its northernmost province and territory nearest Taiwan.

A total of 119 Ivatans capped their basic citizen military training with a graduation ceremony on Saturday in the provincial capital of Basco town.

The Naval Forces Northern Luzon (NFNL) said another batch of potential recruits made up of 76 Ivatan students had been undergoing training also in Basco since February.


Batanes is being eyed as among the possible sites in April for the next “Balikatan” exercises between Filipino and American forces, according to Philippine Army Col. Michael Logico.


Vice Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr., the Philippine Navy chief, told the new reservists in his speech that they would be vital “in providing a secure and safe environment” in Batanes. He called the archipelagic province the country’s “last and northernmost frontier.”

‘Base for expansion’

“When the government needs mobilization or additional force, you will be the base for expansion,” he said, adding that the recruits could also help in humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

“That is why we should improve our ability to protect it (Batanes) from those who want to invade it,” Adaci said.

He also noted the military infrastructure in Batanes which he said has allowed the Navy and other units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to conduct maritime patrols there.

The Navy maintains a detachment at Mavulis Island at the northern extreme of the province—about 140 kilometers from Taiwan’s southern tip.

Batanes Gov. Marilou Cayco, herself a reservist, told the new recruits in her speech “to commit yourself to selfless service for the love of our nation.”


“Being a reservist is not an easy duty because we must always be ready to respond to the call of service to defend our beloved country against any kind of invasion, violence and untoward events,” she said, adding that the reservists “are founded on the Ivatan values of resilience and sense of community.”

‘Operational tempo’

In February, Philippine Army Chief Lt. Gen. Roy Galido urged Ivatans to join the military’s reserve force after Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said he wanted an increased military presence in Batanes.

READ: Philippines to deploy over 100 naval reservists to Batanes

Teodoro, together with Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. and other officials, visited the province on Feb. 6, particularly Mavulis.

The defense chief also inspected the construction of the Naval Forward Operating Base in Mahatao town on the province’s main island of Batan.

“Starting 2024, the operational tempo for the AFP will be higher,” Teodoro said during his visit.

Maritime expert Jay Batongbacal, head of the Institute for Maritime Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the University of the Philippines’ College of Law, earlier told the Inquirer that improving the military’s outpost in Batanes would “certainly help secure our fishing grounds and fishermen operating there.”

Needing a friend

Maritime security expert Ray Powell posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) on March 1 that two Chinese vessels were “loitering” northeast of Luzon at Philippine (Benham) Rise.

Batongbacal said Batanes is “vital in case of Chinese aggression against Taiwan.”

“Taiwan needs the Philippines as a friend in times of both peace and armed conflict in the Taiwan Strait,” he said.

Beijing has long maintained that self-governing Taiwan is part of its territory.

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Security analyst Chester Cabalza, president and founder of Manila-based think tank International Development and Security Cooperation, said also in his earlier interview with the Inquirer that new military bunkers in Batanes were “necessary to achieve a strong deterrence in protecting the national sovereignty of the Philippines.” —NESTOR A. CORRALES

TAGS: Batanes, Navy

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