More ships for PH Navy needed, says Lorenzana
MANILA, Philippines—Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he was hopeful that more new ships would be acquired soon for the Philippine Navy to sustain operations around the archipelago.
The Navy is set to commission its second brand new frigate, the future BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), which is missile-capable and one of two procured from South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries for P16 billion. With its sister ship BRP Jose Rizal, which joined the naval force in 2020, the two new frigates would be the Navy’s most potent warships.
But the underfunded military apparently needed more ships for its Navy.
“They have a wide range of activities facing them, that’s why we’re planning to acquire more vessels for our Navy,” Lorenzana told ABS CBN News Channel.
Lorenzana said the new multi-role ships won’t be deployed exclusively to the West Philippine Sea, where China continues its aggression.
“The South China Sea will not be the only areas that they will patrol. We have the Sulu Seas, where we are also concerned about the egress and ingress of terrorists from Sabah and Indonesia,” he said.
“We also have the Benham Rise and East Philippine Sea, which is also vast. We also need huge vessels because of turbulent seas. Small ships won’t work there,” he said.
Lorenzana reiterated a long-announced plan to buy offshore patrol vessels and corvettes.
“Hopefully, we can have them already ordered soon. Otherwise we will wait for the next administration to do that,” he said.
Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana earlier said the Philippines will deploy more ships to the West Philippine Sea to ensure the safety of Filipino fishermen.
Lorenzana said that while Navy ships may be sent to protect fishermen, the Philippine Coast Guard is the “primary agency” tasked with the job.
“They also have quite a number of vessels that they can deploy in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea to protect our fishermen. The Navy ships will be there to patrol as well, and they will also be used to protect our fishermen,” he said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.