Ex-FOIC Mercado on the Frigate Project: It must push through

Ex-FOIC Mercado on the Frigate Project: It must push through

We need the Frigate Acquisition Program (FAP) to push through.

This was the simple message of former Flag Officer in Command(FOIC) of the Philippine Navy (PN)- Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado, as it will give the  PN its much needed muscle in fulfilling its mandate in protecting the vase maritime territories of the country.

The FAP has been hounded by controversy when former FOIC Mercado was unceremoniously ousted of his post and the Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana citing  “loss of trust and confidence in the integrity and leadership” as the reason for his being relieved of his command.   *
the proposed South Korean design for the Philippine Frigates (photo credit to Maxdefense)

During an ambush interview in the General headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, he was asked about his personal opinion regatrding the acquisition of the 2 frigates of the Philippine Navy from the South Korean supplier.

"Well, sa amin lang naman is I like that frigate (project to push through) because everyone in the Navy wants that frigate (to be completed) kasi it's a combat ship, anong mangyayari sa Navy natin kung walang punch 'di ba, you cannot (only have) transport ships, we should have a punch, the frigate is the capital ship, and this is the first time in the history of the PN that we will have a frigate newly constructed tapos missile capable (and can defeat) air, surface and undersea (threats)," Mercado added.

Hyundai Heavy Industries of South Korea was the one who bagged the 18Billion FAP contract from the government, which Mercado has accused short changing the PN when it plans to change the original agreed brand of the combat management system (CMS) for the future frigates. The contract also includes the weapon systems and munitions.

Mercado, stands by his decision in pushing for a particular brand in the CMS, since that system has a proven track record and has been widely used in the different navies of other countries. *

Last week, Magdalo party-list representative Gary Alejano  in his privilege speech claims that the PN’s FAP project is replete with anomalies and its design was altered from the original to the detriment of the Philippine navy. Also, Alejano claims that the anomaly has reached Malacañan implicating Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher 'Bong' Go’s interference in the FAP contract.

DND Secretary Delfin Lazaro already made a statement exonerating and clearing Bong Go’s name in the matter.

"The President has already addressed the issue of the alleged 'intervention' of the SAP Christopher “Bong” Go in the PN Frigate Acquisition Project," DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said, quoting Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

"The Secretary of National Defense (Delfin Lorenzana) is confirming that no intervention or interference by Secretary Bong Go happened. The document that the SND alluded to have been given to him by Secretary Bong Go was handed to him at the Palace, so he assumed that it came from Secretary Go, the Special Assistant to the President and Chief of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS). It should be noted that the one of the tasks of the PMS includes the official routing and endorsement of documents to government agencies concerned, for appropriate action," he added. *

Andolong has explicitly said that there was neither hint nor guidance from Malacañan of from Go to influence the implementation of the project.

Report from PNA



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