Lorenzana wants to deploy new PH Navy ship to Sulu, Palawan seas

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019   •   452

MANILA, Philippines – If Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had his way, the country’s newly-acquired vessel BRP Conrado Yap will be deployed to Palawan and Sulu seas.

Lorenzana said this on Tuesday on the sidelines of the welcome ceremony for the BRP Conrado Yap, a Pohang-class corvette donated by South Korea, at the Manila South Harbor.

“Kung ako, baka siguro sa Palawan and the Sulu seas,” he said. “It depends on the Navy how soon they can bring that to the south,” he added.

The BRP Conrado Yap arrived in the Philippines several weeks after it was handed over by South Korea during a ceremony at Jinhae Naval Base on August 5. The corvette was used by South Korea from 1987 to 2016 as Republic of Korea Navy ship Chungju (PCC-762).

READ: PH welcomes newly-acquired warship BRP Conrado Yap

The 32-year old warship is regarded as the Philippine Navy’s “most powerful ship” to date because of its torpedo launchers and sonars that are capable of detecting submarine and other potential underwater threats.

The Philippine Navy believes the addition of the heavily armed vessel will provide significant boost to its capability in patrolling and safeguarding the country’s territorial limits.

It will also serve as transition platform in empowering and upgrading Filipino sailors’ knowledge and skills in handling such high-level and advanced equipment/vessel especially with the impending delivery of modern frigates in the next two years, the Philippine Navy added.

The acquisition of the vessel follows the concern raised by the Philippine Military on the series of uncoordinated passage of Chinese warships within the country’s waters, including the Tawi-Tawi’s Sibutu Strait near the Sulu Sea and Palawan.

A diplomatic protest has been filed by Manila on the incursion of Beijing’s vessels.

On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte also issued a directive requiring all foreign vessels to secure a clearance when passing the Philippine waters. (RRD with details from correspondent Joan Nano)

PH-US military drills within 180 days of VFA scrapping to push through — Lorenzana

Robie de Guzman   •   February 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The military exercises between the Philippines and the United States scheduled for the following months will still push through despite the Duterte government’s move to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday.

In a statement, Lorenzana said the training between Filipino and American soldiers will still proceed as scheduled within the 180 days that the VFA remains in force.

“With the formal serving of the notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement, this year’s planned military exercises with the Americans shall proceed as scheduled within the 180 days that the VFA remains in force,” he said.

The Defense chief, however, said American troops may opt to discontinue the exercises before the 180 days are up.

Once the VFA’s termination is final, Lorenzana said Filipino troops will stop conducting military drills with their American counterparts.

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday confirmed that they have received the notice of termination sent by the Philippine government. — RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

PH Navy ships arrive in Oman for repatriation amid Middle East tensions

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 7, 2020

The Philippine Navy ships, BRP Davao del Sur (LD602) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16), have arrived in Oman to help in the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the tensions in the Middle East.

The ships arrived at Sultan Qaboos Port late on Wednesday afternoon (February 5).

In a statement, Philippine envoy to Oman, Ambassador Narciso Castañeda said the navy contingent are “all safe and sound” upon arriving in Oman.

“The troops are very happy and in high spirits since this event serves as another milestone for our Navy that we can already transcend across the deep waters of Indian Ocean or the Arabian Sea,” he said.

He also assured that the embarked sailors and marines “are ready to assist and support the government effort in repatriating our unsung heroes, the OFWs in this Middle East conflict.”—AAC

New PH Navy chief officially assumes position

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 4, 2020

Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo J. Bacordo

Rear Admiral Giovanni Carlo J. Bacordo officially assumes the position as the 38th Flag Officer In Command of the Philippine Navy on Monday (February 3).

The Philippine Navy conducted a change of command ceremony which was presided by President Rodrigo Duterte.

During his speech, Bacordo said that as the new Philippine Navy Chief, he will implement programs that will ensure that the new defense capabilities will remain capable through time.

“Not only we will have modern platforms, but also modern systems and modern mindsets to ensure that we will continue to fulfill our mission and remain to be a strong and credible Navy that our maritime nation can be proud of,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte lauded former Navy chief, Vice Admiral Robert A. Empedrad for his contribution and told members of the Philippine Navy to rally behind the new navy leadership under its newly assumed Flag Officer In Command.

Empedrad retired after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 on his birthday on Monday.—AAC

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