THE Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) gained two additional marine protection assets with the commissioning of the Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Lapu-Lapu and BRP Francisco Dagohoy on Thursday, December 21, at Sasa Wharf, Davao City led by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The two ships are expected to strengthen the government's sea monitoring, relief operations, and programs against illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said that the two new 50.5-meter steel-hulled Multi-Mission Offshore Vessels costs about P250 million each.

He said that the government saved about P1 billion pesos since it was produced by Josefa Slipways, a medium category local shipyard in Navotas City using welded high tensile AH36 steel that could be at par with ones done by international ship makers.

The ship designer, however, is the US-based Incat Crowther.

The construction of the two ships started in January 2016.

Piñol estimates each ships to cost around P750-million had it been made abroad.

Piñol is targeting to build more water vessels for DA and has already gotten the verbal approval of the President to protect the country’s marine resources.

Duterte in his message during the commissioning said the ships will not just be combating illegal activities, protection of fishing ground, and maritime-related works but also will be called “food boat” that will deliver food in different parts of the country during disasters.

With this, it will help facilitate the programs of the DA-BFAR and the government in different communities.

“Our activities today are proof of the government’s resolve to empower and protect our country’s farmers and fisherfolk,” the President said in his speech during the commissioning held at the Sasa Wharf here in Davao City.

The President added that the name of the ships was named after Visayan heroes to recognize their heroic deeds for the country.