26 July 2013

Another Navy warship to arrive next week

MANILA, Philippines - A second warship acquired from the US is expected to arrive (next week).

Navy spokesman Lieutenant Commander Gregory Fabic said the BRP Ramon Alcaraz is expected to arrive in Guam this weekend before sailing for the Philippines.

“It is really a big boost to our capability since it will be deployed within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines,” he said. “We are looking at BRP Ramon Alcaraz as a source of pride not only for us but also the Filipino people.”

Fabic said the warship will dock on Aug. 4 at Subic Freeport, where it will be repainted grey, the color of the Philippine Navy.

An arrival ceremony is slated for Aug. 6, and the Alcaraz is expected to be commissioned by the second week of October, he added.

Navy officials are now meeting with officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority to prepare for the arrival of the Alcaraz, Fabic said.

Discussions will also be held with officials of the Presidential Management Staff since President Aquino is expected to be the guest of honor at the welcome ceremony.

The arrival ceremony will likely feature a “meeting procedure,” where a naval ship welcomes a vessel that will become part of the fleet.

The government spent more than P600 million to acquire the Alcaraz, which can accommodate up to 180 personnel.

The Alcaraz is the second warship acquired from the US, after the BRP Gregorio del Pilar that was commissioned in December 2011.

Commodore Ramon Alcaraz was a Navy officer who commanded a patrol boat during World War II.

The US Coast Guard used the Alcaraz for drug and migrant interdiction, law enforcement, search and rescue, living marine resources protection, and defense readiness.

The Alcaraz departed from its homeport in Charleston, South Carolina last June 10.

It made port visits to San Diego, California and Honolulu, Hawaii before sailing for Guam. (Alexis Romero, The Philippine Star)