THE newly installed Philippine Navy chief, Vice Admiral Jesus Millan, vowed to strengthen the command’s force and presence in the Visayas so it can help local government units and other agencies more with disaster response.

Millan visited Cebu yes­terday as part of his regular command trips to naval bases across the country.

“The main reason that I am here is to articulate to our sailors and marines who are posted here our duties and responsibilities to the public,” he said.

Millan, who assumed his new post last April, was welcomed by Naval Forces Central (Navforcen) officers and personnel with arrival honors led by acting commander Captain Ingemar Pernes yesterday morning.

In his speech, Millan highlighted the efforts of Navforcen, whose men became front-liners in the rescue and relief operations during calamities, including sea mishaps and the earthquake and the super typhoon last year.

Seven months after typhoon Yolanda struck, Millan said the Navy will continue to help different agencies in the ongoing rehabilitation efforts, particularly in northern Cebu and Eastern Visayas.

He assured that the Navy is ready and willing to respond to emergencies and calamities, especially with the onset of the rainy season.

Aside from their personnel, Millan said the Navforcen’s assets are prepared to be deployed wherever they are needed.

He also said that more vessels and air assets will be added to its fleet, which will benefit the Navforcen, being one of its key naval bases in the country.

The Philippine Navy recently acquired three brand new helicopters and is set to commission additional vessels.

“There will be more to come as we perform more functions,” Millan assured.