The Philippine Navy, through the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, formally activated the Naval Station Rio Hondo as part of the ongoing capability upgrade and modernization, in Barangay Rio Hondo, Zamboanga City on Tuesday (October 09, 2018).
The activation ceremony was graced by the Vice Commander, Philippine Navy, Rear Admiral Rommel Jude G. Ong AFP being the Guest of Honor and Speaker and Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar as sponsor. The event was also attended by Rio Hondo Barangay Captain Jinnul Malik, the officers and men of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao, and partner-stakeholders.
The newly-activated Naval Station will be manned by various Fleet-Marine operating units such as Naval Special Operations Unit 1 (NAVSOU 1), Combat Service Support Brigade (CSSBde), Inshore Boat Battalion (IBBN), Naval Air Unit –Western Mindanao (NAU-WM), and elements from Marine Battalion Landing Team 1, Naval Task Force 61, and Naval Forces Western Mindanao Headquarters Support Group.
Naval Station Rio Hondo was built to stand guard to the city after the infamous Zamboanga City siege on September 09, 2013. This project came as a result of the City’s efforts to maintain peace and security following the siege where hundreds of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels came into the city and infiltrated several coastal villages in the attempt to hoist their flag in the city’s seat of government, the Zamboanga City Hall.
Rear Admiral Rene V. Medina AFP, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao assured that this new naval station will make a difference in addressing the security and order of Zamboanga City as this will serve as a Fleet-Marine force projection on the South Eastern coastline of Zamboanga City.
“This is our home and we have an obligation to ensure that never again will it succumb to those who are trying to assert the greed and malice in our place. Let this activation sow the seeds of peace and prosperity in our beloved city as it brings back the confidence of the people and ensuring that your Navy and AFP as a whole would always be in the forefront to warrant their safety and well-being,” Rear Admiral Medina continued.
Likewise, Honorable Climaco-Salazar said that the activation of Naval Station Rio Hondo is dedicated to the memory of the military who fought and offered their lives in defense of Zamboanga City during the September, 2013 Zamboanga siege.
In his message, Rear Admiral Ong AFP said: “Aligned with the Zamboanga City Road map to recovery and reconstruction, the Naval Station Rio Hondo shall play a very important and critical role in restoring and preserving the peace in the barangays and our beloved City. This Naval Station shall bring light to our people that they could redeem the lives that they lost during the siege and the livelihood that they had built before.”