New PH frigate Antonio Luna to join West Philippine Sea patrols
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Navy’s newest ship, BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), will be deployed to the West Philippine Sea to boost maritime patrols amid China’s continued incursions in the area, which is inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The ship’s commanding officer, Capt. Charles Merric Villanueva, had declared “a high state of operational readiness” after completing pre-deployment requirements, the Navy said in a statement.
The ship was sent off in a ceremony on Thursday (June 10) at South Harbor by the Navy leadership led by newly-installed Flag Officer in Command Rear Admiral Adeluis Bordado and Philippine Fleet commander Rear Admiral Alberto Carlos.
Philippine Navy deploys its newest ship BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) to Palawan, to beef up the country’s maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea pic.twitter.com/Wzjb1A9SOcFEATURED STORIESGLOBALNATION
— Frances Mangosing 🇵🇭 (@FMangosingINQ) June 10, 2021
This will be the ship’s first official mission since it was commissioned into service last March. Luna is the second and final ship of Rizal-class frigates built in South Korea.
“I want you to know how much pride and honor you carry and magnify for the entire command by carrying the Philippine flag during your first and most challenging mission yet,” Bordado said in his message to officers and sailors of Antonio Luna. “Make waves, bow, and winds obey,” he said.
The ship is the second Navy vessel to be named after Antonio Luna, a Filipino army general who fought foreign aggression during the Philippine-American war.
The Philippines has stepped up patrols in the West Philippine Sea after more than 200 Chinese militia vessels had been spotted at Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef there in March.
The Philippines has repeatedly protested the lingering presence of Chinese militia vessels but it was all ignored by Beijing which is claiming to own the entire area.
Most of the China ships have left the reef but not the Philippines’ EEZ and just scattered across the West Philippine Sea.
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