• DND bent on buying frigates

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    DESPITE its limited resources, the Department of National Defense (DND) is bent on purchasing two brand new frigates to beef up the Navy’s “arsenal” that includes the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, BRP Ramon Alcaraz and the World War II vintage BRJ Rajah Humabon.

    Fernando Manalo, Defense undersecretary for finance, munitions, installation and materiel, said that a pre-bid conference would be called soon for the purpose of acquiring new frigates.

    He added that a number of countries have already signified their intention to participate in the bidding, including South Korea, Spain, Singapore and the US, among others.

    Manalo said that a brand new frigate costs P18 billion. He explained that purchasing a brand-new frigate would be cheaper in the long run because it would not need repairs.

    ”We realized that it will be expensive in the long run if we are going to buy second hand. So as much as possible, so long as our budget permits, we will buy a brand new one,” Manalo said. “It would not give the Navy a headache for the next 20 to 30 years.”

    The Del Pilar and the Alcaraz are both Hamilton-class cutters acquired by the government from the US Navy. The former, which is 48-years-old, was launched on Dec. 18, 1965. It was acquired by the Philippine government from the US Navy for a transfer cost of P450 million.

    BRP Alcaraz meanwhile is 46-years-old. It was decommissioned by the US Coast Guard last March 30, 2012 after 45-years of service.

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