PF-16 BRP Ramon Alcaraz (photo : timawa)
MANILA, (IMP) -- The Philippines' second warship, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, is expected to arrive in the country by end of June or early July, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said on Monday.
Gazmin said it will take some time for the Hamilton-class cutter to arrive in the country as it will travel from Charleston, South Carolina passING through the Panama Canal.
Fernando Manalo, Defense Undersecretary for Finance, Munitions, Installations and Materiel, said the ship would be "limited" in terms of equipment and arsenal but was "better than the first one," referring to the first Hamilton-class cutter acquired by the Philippines, the BRP del Pilar.
The arrival of the second warship is expected to boost Philippine naval presence, especially with the ongoing dispute at the West Philippine Sea.
Meanwhile, Manalo also revealed that the Philippines opted to purchase two brand new frigates instead of the earlier plan to buy secondhand ones following a DND study that says buying brand new frigates are more practical than buying used ones.
"It will be more expensive in the long run if we're going to buy secondhand ships, considering the repairs," Manalo told reporters.
He said purchase of the two brand new frigates will be done via public bidding and has a budget of P18 billion.
Countries that have already expressed interest to participate in the bidding include South Korea, Singapore, and Spain, among others.
Aside from the frigates, the DND is also finalizing plans to purchase 12 jet fighters from South Korea.