PH Navy needs more warships to patrol WPS—House defense committee member

PH Navy needs more warships to patrol WPS—House defense committee member

The Philippine lawmakers are slowly catching up on the issue of the need to modernize our Armed Forces of the Philippines very fast.

Geo political changes sweeping Asia and the present activities in the West Philippine Sea has contributed to the urgent need for military equipment/materials to defend the national territory.
Over the weekend, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, a member of the House national defense and security committee, made the statement that the Philippine Navy needs more warships to guard the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.

Two Philippine Navy ships and the USS aircraft carrier Wasp during the Balikatan 2019 exercises (photo credit to owner)

“The Philippine Navy has to establish a credible presence there—in terms of combat ships—if we are to discourage foreign seaborne threats, including poachers,” he said as quoted by Manila Standard.

“The reality is, the Navy lacks battle-ready ships. This is why we are having difficulty enforcing our sovereign rights over our EEZ there,” he said.

“Our naval warfare service should at least be as formidable as Indonesia’s, which has three fleets of larger and faster ships, including submarines.”
“It is unfortunate that the Philippine Navy’s top three warships are least 50 years old, and one of them is out for repair,” the lawmaker Pimentel said.

He was referring to the Del Pilar class of offshore patrol vessels ( BRP Gregorio del Pilar, BRP Ramon Alcaraz, and BRP Andres Bonifacio) who were all former US Coast Guard cutters and was acquired by the country through  America’s Excess Defense Articles Program.
Del pilar is currently under going repair after it ran aground last year at Hasa Hasa shoal in the West Philippine Sea off Palawan.

Two brand new Frigates

The country is expecting delivery one of the two ordered South Korean made missile capable frigates by March 2020, the second will be due to arrive in 2021. The government paid 18 billion pesos for the two ships and has allotted P2 billion pesos for their weapons systems and munition.
“The two frigates are a definitely a good start, but sadly, they won’t be enough. Indonesia has at least eight frigates, among other warships,” Pimentel said.

“The next Congress should see to it that the Navy gets all the new funding needed to acquire more warships in the years ahead,” he said.

The University of the Philippines’ Institute of Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea earlier announced that Chinese fishing vessels around Panatag Shoal were illegally harvesting giant clams that were originally sown by Filipino marine biologists for restocking.

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Report from Manila Standard

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