The second Filipino warship has finally arrived in the Philippines.
President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III welcomed the arrival of BRP Ramon Alcaraz, a 46-year old Hamilton-class cutter, in a formal ceremony in Subic on Tuesday morning.
On board the vessel, President Aquino witnessed the docking of BRP Alcaraz in Alava Wharf in Subic following its two-month voyage, which started in Charleston, South Carolina in June.
With this, President Aquino expects the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to be more efficient in patrolling PH territories amid islands disputes.
“At ngayong narito na rin ang BRP Alcaraz, tiyak na lalo pang mapapaigting ang pagpapatrolya natin sa Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone,” Aquino said in his speech.
He added the Navy ship, which is able to fire missiles, will also improve the country’s ability to face any kind of threat.
Aquino thanked Captain Ernesto Baldovino for leading BRP Alcaraz to its journey from USA, passing through Pearl Harbor and Guam before finally hitting Philippine shores.
Alcaraz, a 378-foot decommissioned US Coast Guard ship that the Philippines acquired last year, underwent a $15.5 million or P620 million-worth of refurbishment in South Carolina before reaching Subic over the weekend.
“Binubura na po natin ang dating imahen ng kulang-kulang na kagamitan at pahirapang kalagayan ng ating mga kawal ng bayan,” he added.
The warship will join BRP Gregorio del Pilar, the country’s first warship, amid continuing tensions between Chinese and Taiwanese governments over various islands in the West Philippine Seas.
President Aquino vowed this won’t be the last vessel the government will be acquiring to modernize the military.
Last Saturday, the Philippines said it is purchasing a surplus French Navy vessel to boost its forces in the South China Sea where it has an ongoing territorial dispute with China.
The Philippines is also finalizing with the French government the purchase of four brand-new 24-meter and one 82-meter multipurpose vessels, which officials said will arrive in the first quarter of 2015. (Text by Rio Rose Ribaya)