PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday inspected the country’s first Hamilton class cutter, the newly acquired and refurbished BRP Gregorio del Pilar.
In his speech, Aquino said BRP Del Pilar will further modernize the Armed Forces.
Manned by 13 officers and 82 enlisted personnel, BRP Gregorio del Pilar entered the country last week after a month-long voyage from the United States. It dropped its anchor at the Manila Bay, Monday morning to undergo customs, immigration and quarantine inspection.
The Philippine Navy recently acquired the refurbished US Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton (WHEC- 715) and commissioned it as BRP Gregorio del Pilar Pacific Fleet 15. The 378-foot vessel with a crew capacity of 180 is equipped with armament and weapons system, propulsion plant, electrical generation, helicopter hangar and flight deck, among others.
It will be deployed to carry out the mission for drug interdiction, law enforcement, search and rescue operations, defense readiness and migrant interdiction. It will also perform tasks in protecting the country’s natural gas and oil exploration projects off Palawan amid reported incursions in the West Philippine Sea.
Also present during the ceremonies were United States Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Energy Secretary Rene Almendras, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Communications Operations head Herminio Coloma Jr. (End)