MANILA - The Philippine Navy on Wednesday said it would acquire multiple sea vessels including submarines, a first for the Philippines.
The Navy said President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the plan to acquire 2 submarines. Also on its acquisition list are more warships in a bid to further advance modernization efforts to better guard the country's waters.
On the Navy's acquisition list are the following:
- 2 submarines
- 8 new fast attack interdiction craft (missile-capable) with speeds of up to 40 knots
- 6 new offshore patrol vessels
- 2 new corvettes
- 2 refurbished Pohang-class corvettes, sister vessels of the BRP Conrado Yap acquired from South Korea
Besides acquiring these assets, the Navy is also advancing its efforts to capacitate itself in shipbuilding.
One of its requirements for the supplier of the offshore patrol vessels was that at least half the number of vessels would be made in the Philippines.
Four of the 8 fast attack interdiction craft with missile capability will also be built in the country.
“Ika-capacitate natin 'yung naval shipyard, we will now have the capability to build ships sa future,” said Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad.
(We will improve the capacity of our naval shipyard, we will now have the capability to build ships for the future.)
“Mahalaga ito sa self-reliance defense posture na pinupush ni (Defense) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, 'yung ma-capacitate natin 'yung Armed Forces (AFP) to build our own capability,” he added.
(This is important to the self-reliance defense posture being pushed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to improve the capacity of the Armed Forces to build our own capability.)
Empedrad said that while progress was slow in its modernization, it was sure. He is confident that with the arrival of these assets “the Navy will have the capability to patrol our maritime waters.”
The ex-Pohang-class corvette BRP Conrado Yap, regarded by the Navy as its "most powerful ship," docked in the Port of Manila last August 20 after being acquired from South Korea.
The ship was acquired in efforts to aid the Navy in bridging the newly acquired capabilities and those still on the way.
The Navy is also set to bless and debut three new multi-purpose attack crafts and four amphibious assault vehicles this September.
The Department of National Defense is seeking a P29-billion budget for the Navy in 2020, up 4.3 percent from its current P27.84-billion funding this year, according to the agency's data presented to members of the House Appropriations Committee.
The Navy's upgrade efforts come amid maritime security issues, including unauthorized ship passages in Philippine waters and the unresolved South China Sea dispute. - With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News