PH welcomes newly-acquired warship BRP Conrado Yap

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019   •   687

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Navy welcomed the arrival of its newly-acquired warship, the Pohang-class corvette BRP Conrado Yap (PS39), with an official ceremony at the Manila South Harbor on Tuesday.

The warship, commissioned from South Korea, was named after a Filipino soldier who served in the Korean war as part of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea. Yap, a Philippine Army captain, was considered as the most decorated Filipino soldier during the Korean war.

The 32-year old BRP Conrado Yap 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.

“Dati surface lang iyong limitations natin with the underwater capability of BRP Conrado Yap PS39. We’ll be able to see, to detect submarines and other potential threats that we cannot see,” said Captain Marco Buena, who commanded the ship’s maiden crew.

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 ship will partner with the new AgustaWestland 159 helicopters which are also capable of anti-submarine detection.

The corvette was used by South Korea from 1987 to 2016 as Republic of Korea Navy ship Chungju (PCC-762).

It was turned over to the Philippine Navy during a commissioning ceremony held at Jinhae Naval Base in South Korea on August 5.

READ: PH Navy receives, commissions ex-South Korean warship

It set sail towards the Philippines on August 12, escorted by the BRP Davao del Sur (LD602).

While on the way to Manila, the two vessels conducted naval maneuvers and other trainings.

The ships were also shadowed by a Chinese naval vessel, which according to Captain Richard Gonzaga, Commander of Naval Task Group 80.5, was a non-hostile encounter and just a part of a protocol when passing China’s waters.

“‘Yung shadow is dahil nabigyan naman tayo ng abiso dadaan doon. Ang pag-shadow lang ng Chinese vessels, nagtanong lang sila kung kailangan ng assistance or anything which is common naman sa lahat ng navy. Pag sila naman ang dumadaan dito, sinasabi rin natin kung ano iyon…kasi sa atin is always safety iyon,” Gonzaga said.

The Philippines’ acquisition of the corvette was amid tension in the West Philippine Sea and reported incursions of Chinese warships in Sibutu Strait in Tawi-Tawi in the previous months. (RRD with details from correspondent Joan Nano)

Korean visa application period to shorten in February

Marje Pelayo   •   January 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos who want to visit South Korea will soon get their visit visa in a period of three weeks or less.

The Embassy of South Korea in the Philippines announced that it is cutting the processing time for Korean visa applications starting next month having additional staff to do the job.

 “By the end of February, current visa processing period of 25~27 days will be reduced to 10~15 days,” the Embassy said in an advisory.

The Embassy added the reduced processing period will be retained for March to April which is spring time in Korea, a peak season for travelers.

DFA reminds Filipinos: Don’t bring animal products to South Korea

Robie de Guzman   •   January 21, 2020

Quarantine workers spray disinfectant at Incheon International Airport, in Incheon, South Korea, 21 January 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday reminded Filipinos that bringing of animal or livestock products to South Korea is prohibited.

The DFA issued the reminder after a Filipino traveler was issued a five-year entry ban for “failing to pay the fine amounting ₩5,000,000.00 (PHP219,907.87) for bringing pork sausages at the airport.”

The Filipino traveler came to South Korea last October 21, 2019.

“This shows how stringent the South Korean authorities are regarding the enforcement of the regulation,” the DFA said.

The agency, through the Philippine Embassy in Seoul, reiterates that under South Korea’s Law on the Prevention of Contagious Animal Disease, and pursuant to the advisories from South Korean government agencies, carrying animal or livestock products is restricted, adding that products should be reported and declared at the quarantine office of the port of entry.

Policy violators will be fined up to ₩10,000,000.00 (PHP439,815.73), and those who fail to pay the fine will be banned from entering South Korea.

The DFA also advised Filipinos entering South Korea as visitors, workers or residents to refrain from bringing restricted items in their hand-carry or checked-in luggage.

“All hand-carry and checked-in luggage of passengers are subjected to security screening at the airport terminals,” the agency added.

South Korea pledges US$200,000 aid for victims of Taal eruption

Marje Pelayo   •   January 17, 2020

SEOUL, South Korea – The Government of South Korea on Thursday (January 16) said that it is sending US$200,000 humanitarian assistance to the Philippines.

The said amount is to help some 45,000 Filipinos affected and displaced by the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas.

The cash donation will be coursed through the Philippine Red Cross, according to South Korea’s foreign ministry in a press release.

“The assistance is expected to contribute to the stabilization of the lives of the displaced people by providing relief supplies in a speedy manner to people staying at shelters due to the volcanic eruption,” the ministry said.

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