MANILA, Philippines - The defense department will spend P2.5 billion for the ammunition of the two frigates it will acquire for the Philippine Navy.
Defense Assistant Secretary Patrick Velez said security officials have decided to separate the purchase of ammunition from the frigate acquisition project, citing international arms restrictions.
“There will be two (projects). The acquisition of armaments will be treated as a separate project,” Velez told The STAR in a recent interview.
“You cannot combine the offensive portion and the actual building of the ship. The ammunition will require about P2.5 billion,” he added.
Velez said they could not award the project to shipyards that do not manufacture missiles.
Before it was divided into two, the frigate acquisition project had an approved budget of P18 billion. About P2.5 billion of the outlay was allotted for the ships’ armaments.
Now that the project has been divided into two lots, the budget for the two ships stands at P15.5 billion.
Sources told The STAR defense department might consider negotiated procurement for the ammunition to ensure that the armaments are compatible with the ships to be acquired.
Defense officials are about to finish the technical discussions for the project and will hold the bidding for the project within the year.
A total of six companies are qualified to submit bids for the project. They are Navantia Sepi (RTR Ventures) of Spain, South Korean firms STX Offshore & Shipbuilding, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. and Hyundai Heavy Industries, Inc.; Indian firm Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd. and French company STX France SA.
The frigate acquisition project is among the big-ticket items in the Armed Forces Modernization Program.
The ships can be used to boost the Philippines’ security presence in the West Philippine Sea, repatriate migrant workers and respond to calamities.
The two ships to be acquired for the Navy are expected to complement the BRP Gregorio del Pilar and the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, the two vessels purchased from the United States.