MANILA, Philippines—Amid aggressive external threats to its sovereignty, the Philippines’ defense capabilities will get a boost with the arrival next month of its latest naval asset acquired from the United States.
The BRP Ramon Alcaraz, a decommissioned US Coast Guard cutter which the Philippines acquired a year ago, has completed sea trials in preparation for its trip to its new home port in the Philippines, the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Alcaraz would form part of the country’s naval forces buildup amid tense maritime disputes, particularly with China, in the West Philippine Sea.
“The acquisition of the Alcaraz is part of the Philippines’ effort at building a minimum credible defense posture, especially in upholding our maritime security, search and rescue activities, and disaster response,” said DFA spokesperson Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez.
The 115-meter ship, a Hamilton-class cutter that served as the US Coast Guard’s USCGC Dallas for more than 40 years, underwent sea trials from May 20 to 23, the Philippine Embassy said.
The ship was refurbished and refitted at a cost of $15.5 million (P620 million) after the Philippines acquired it in May last year while its 14 officers and 74 crew underwent training.
The ship was named after Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, a navy officer who commanded a patrol boat that shot down three Japanese aircraft during World War II. Tarra Quismundo