By Priam Nepomuceno  June 16, 2020, 9:34 amShare 

MANILA – With its crew having completed mandatory quarantine, the Philippine Navy (PN) on Monday formally welcomed its first missile-frigate, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), at the Alava Wharf in Subic Bay, Zambales.

In a statement, PN public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, said the christening and commissioning date of the ship, which was originally scheduled for June 19, was moved to a later date due to unavoidable circumstances.

“President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to attend the momentous event as the guest of honor and speaker,” Roxas said.

The ship has a maiden crew of 65 led by Captain Jerry Garrido, she added.

Philippine Fleet commander, Rear Adm. Loumer Bernabe, who led the welcoming ceremony for BRP Jose Rizal, thanked the officers and enlisted personnel aboard for their efforts and perseverance in familiarizing the different systems of the ship through constant training and drills.

He also conveyed his appreciation to shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and the South Korean government for their support in the country’s efforts to modernize the PN and bring home the vessel and its crew safe and secured.

“Together, let us bring our Navy to the next level, not only because of more modern ships, weapons, and sensors but because of more competent and confident personnel, equipped with modern and disciplined mindsets,” Bernabe said.

In the same manner, the personal protective equipment (PPE) sets carried by the vessel that was donated by the South Korean government and HHI, was formally turned over by HHI`s representative, Bokyeung Kang to the PN.

The donation will augment the Philippines’ capacity in battling the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Earlier, Roxas said the ship’s crew were scheduled for a Covid-19 swab test on May 28 or five days after they arrived in Subic Bay. BRP Jose Rizal left the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea last May 18.

The ship is capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and electronic warfare operations. BRP Jose Rizal was launched at the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea on May 23, 2019.

Incidentally, BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), the sistership of BRP Jose Rizal, was launched in the same facility on November 8 of last year.

The contract for the two ships is placed at PHP16 billion with another PHP2 billion for weapon systems and munitions. (PNA)

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