Is the Philippines preparing for any future conflicts in the West Philippine Sea?It has been reported that there’s a new warship that will be coming to the Philippines this year. With a new warship coming, it’s certain that the Philippines is really boosting its defense capabilities.
It has been reported that the US Coast Guard will transfer their high endurance cutter USCGC Boutwell (WHEC-719) to the Philippines. It will be named as BRP Andres Bonifacio and will be designated as frigate in the Philippine navy. It will join the Navy’s flagships – BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz.
The US Coast Guard already said that: “The Coast Guard will transfer a decommissioned cutter, formerly known as the Cutter Boutwell, to the Republic of the Philippines in a transfer ceremony Thursday (July 21) at Coast Guard Base Alameda.”
Philippine Fleet commander Rear Admiral BayaniGaerlan and BRP Andres Bonifacio’s prospective commanding officer Captain Brendo J. Casaclang attended the signatory. The high endurance cutter was declared as an excess government asset and has been transferred to the Philippines through the Excess Defense Articles program of the United States.
Philippine Navy spokesperson Captain LuedLincuna said that: “We are expecting the delivery of this ship this year. [It will be an] additional asset for the Philippine Navy and will be a big boost to our capabilities once it enters our inventory.”
Aside from the BRP Andres Bonifacio, a multi-role response vessel (MRRV) acquired from Japan will also arrive on August 18. The vessel will be assigned to the Philippine Coast Guard to boost their patrol capabilities in the West Philippine Sea. The vessel will be named as the BRP Tubbataha.
Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo said: “It is a Coast Guard vessel. It is a multi-role vessel and it would perform Coast Guard functions. Considering that the Philippine Coast Guard is being asked to (help) in the West Philippine Sea, if the Department of Transportation (DOT) would instruct us to patrol beyond the 12 nautical miles, then we would deploy a ship and it is possible that we would use the BRP Tubbataha.”
Aside from BRP Andres Bonifacio and BRP Tubbataha, 9 more MRRVs are expected to arrive soon.