Navy deploys BRP Gregorio del Pilar to West Philippine Sea-A A +A
Friday, December 23, 2011
THE Philippines has deployed its newly-acquired cutter vessel to the West Philippine Sea, whose territory is being disputed by various countries including China, the world's second-largest and fastest-growing economy.
The BRP Gregorio del Pilar, the Philippine Navy's largest and most modern vessel at present, was sent off on its mission early Friday night, hours after a ceremony was held which was led by the Navy’s Philippine Fleet commander, Rear Adm. Jose Luis Alano, at the South Harbor in Manila.
The ship will be placed under the operational control of the Naval Forces Command which includes the West Philippine Sea, or South China Sea, as among its area of operations, Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay said.
“(It) will form part of the Navy’s naval forces operating in the vast West Philippine Sea,” said Tonsay, referring to the vessel, which was commissioned in rites led by President Aquino last Dec. 14 also at the South Harbor.
The BRP Gregorio del Pilar will join several other ships deployed in the West Philippine Sea, including the BRP Rajah Humabon (PF-11) – the Navy’s flagship – and BRP Federico Martir (PG 385).
The vessel was bought through the US Foreign Military Sales program, using proceeds from the Malampaya gas-to-power project.
While a similar ship is expected to arrive early next year, the Department of National Defense is eyeing to get a third one.
"Funded by the Department of Energy, the primary mission of PF-15 (Patrol Frigate-15) will be to secure the Malampaya Project while it is also expected to secure the Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea area," said Tonsay of BRP Gregorio del Pilar. (VR/Sunnex)