MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Friday said the Philippine Navy's two new fast attack crafts from Israel would be used in West Philippine Sea patrols and humanitarian operations.
The Philippine Navy earlier in the day commissioned BRP Gener Tinangag or Patrol Gunboat (PG) 903 and BRP Domingo Deluana or PG 905. These will be deployed in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Marcos told reporters the new attack crafts will be included in the inventory of vessels to be used both for external and civil defense, as well as help disaster operations in the country.
"Lahat ‘yan ginagamit talaga natin pang-patrolya, hindi lamang sa West Philippine Sea kung hindi doon sa civil defense," said Marcos in a chance interview.
"Kagaya ngayon, ang aming pinag-uusapan at pinaghahandaan ay ‘yung bagyo and of course, our Armed Forces plays always a very important part when it comes to search and rescue, pati sa pagdala ng relief," he added.
The chief executive said there is no need to "divide between the forces" in terms of external and civil defense, as the country is gearing up its capabilities on this through partnership and joint exercises.
He also vowed for the acquisition of more equipment and materials for the dual role.
The gunboats, the Philippine Navy said, will provide additional capability to their force with its "quick intercept ability, remote stabilized weapons, and short-range missiles."
Meanwhile, during his speech for the 125th anniversary of the Philippine Navy, the President called on its personnel to work for unity and to champion respect for the country’s “constitutional order and the rule of law.”
This, as he paid tribute to the Navy’s “manifold achievements and accomplishments over the years, especially the efforts to secure (our) archipelago, more significantly, in the Batanes and Kalayaan islands, the Philippine Rise, and the West Philippine Sea.
He also assured Navy officials and personnel of his administration’s continued efforts to ensure their welfare.
"Rest assured that as your commander-in-chief, this administration will work tirelessly not only to improve the Armed Forces, but are also looking for ways and means to improve your individual welfare and those of your families and loved ones as well,” he said.
The Palace said that as of May 15, the Philippine Navy has a total strength of 26,830 officers, enlisted personnel, and candidate soldiers, supported by 1,378 civilian employees.
Marcos said that while government is currently developing a plan to acquire a submarine for the Philippine Navy, the focus right now is in the development of its anti-submarine capabilities.
The acquisition of submarines requires a large commitment, Marcos told reporters.
"The equipment that is involved, the operational requirements that are involved are quite significant,” he said.
“So, it is still part of our plan. But right now, we are in the middle of developing mostly our anti-submarine capabilities. So yun ang uunahin natin. And then maybe hopefully when the time comes and the conditions are agreeable, then we might be able to acquire those submarines.”
Marcos revealed there are current offers from different countries for submarines but to also build them in the Philippines.
This can be beneficial in some aspects.
“So yun ang tinitignan natin ngayon dahil malaking bagay yun if they are built here. And we can actually build submarines here and provide those submarines to other countries. And then that’s another source of jobs and of income and increase capability for our Navy,” he said.
fast attack crafts, Philippine Navy, Philippine Navy 125th anniversary, gun boats, Patrol Gunboat 903, PG 905, defense, security