Officials from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, Philippine Navy and US Navy salute during the opening ceremony for Maritime Training Activity (MTA) Sama Sama. On its third year, MTA Sama Sama includes forces from Japan, Philippines and the United States, designed to promote regional security cooperation, maintain and strengthen maritime partnerships, and enhance maritime interoperability. US NAVY/GREG JOHNSON

Naval personnel from the United States, the Philippines and Japan launched their Maritime Training Activity (MTA) dubbed “Sama Sama” with its opening ceremony held in Puerto Princesa, Palawan on Monday.

This was the third joint undertaking to further promote regional security cooperation, maintenance and strengthening of maritime partnership and enhance interoperability. This was the first time elements of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force took part in the activity, according to a statement released today by the Embassy of the United States in Manila.

US Navy Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, commander of the Logistics Group Western Pacific, who oversees security cooperation for the US Navy in Southeast Asia, said the MTA Sama Sama manifested the evolution toward multilateral training and networked security.

“We are strongest when we sail together,” said Tynch. “MTA Sama Sama gives us a great change to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends, partners and allies, the Philippine Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force. We train together, so that together we can face threats to maritime security,” he added. (Melo M. Acuña)