MANILA, Philippines - The United States did not give in to a request by the Philippines to include weapons and accessories in the second warship it will provide to the Philippine Navy.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said during an interview over radio dzRH that US Coast Guard ship Dallas would be similar to BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which had been stripped of its weapons system before it was turned over to the Philippines last year.
“Pareho lang ng del Pilar (The same with del Pilar),” Gazmin said when asked whether the US had granted the Philippines’ request to retain the armaments of Dallas.
Earlier, officials asked the US to retain some key features of the Dallas but Navy chief Vice Admiral Alexander Pama said the request was turned down last May 8.
Among the ship’s features that Pama wanted retained were its close-in weapons system, Bushmaster cannons, air search radars and fire control system.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Jessie Dellosa and Philippine Fleet commander Rear Admiral Jose Luis Alano will attend the symbolic turnover of the ship on Wednesday (Manila time) at North Charleston, South Carolina.
US Coast Guard ship Dallas will be renamed BRP Ramon Alcaraz, a torpedo boat commanding officer during World War II. Alcaraz retired as a commodore of the Philippine Fleet in 1966 and died in 2009.
“What we are trying to prevent is the commission of transnational crimes that can affect our economy like poaching, piracy and drug trafficking,” AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said.
“Our borders are porous so we have to guard them closely and the acquisition of the long-range cutter will help the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he added.
The Dallas is an all-weather, high-endurance cutter and has features similar to that of Gregorio del Pilar.
The cutter was used mostly for drug and migrant interdiction, law enforcement, search and rescue, living marine resources protection, and defense readiness.
The ship can accommodate up to 180 officers and sailors.