MANILA, Philippines - Around 90 members of the Philippine Navy are now in South Carolina, United States to learn how to man the country’s second Hamilton class cutter, which is due to arrive in the country in November.
The ship, which is to be named BRP Ramon Alcaraz, has already been turned over to Philippine authorities. It has been in Charleston since May for refurbishing purposes.
"Our men are currently there (in the US). I get daily reports on their activities. So far, their training is continuing. Also, (the ship) is undergoing maintenance and it is ongoing minor repairs," said Navy chief Vice Admiral Alexander Pama.
He said they would want the Hamilton class cutter to arrive before November but “we do not want to compromise what should be done. As they say it, haste makes waste. So we are monitoring the training of our men. If we will shortcut their training, this will have an effect later on," said Pama.
There is no word yet where BRP Ramon Alcaraz would be deployed, but it is possible that it will be sent to the West Philippine Sea. The P400 million that was used to acquire it came from the Malampaya gas-to-power project, which is found in Palawan.
The country’s first Hamilton class cutter, BRP Gregorio del Pilar, was deployed to the West Philippine Sea, where the disputed Spratly Islands can be found.