THE Philippine Navy’s newest acquired warship, BRP Ramon Alcaraz, would be sent on its first official mission right after it has been commissioned into active service today.
Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic on Thursday said that the commissioning and send-off ceremonies for the Alcaraz will be held today (November 22) at Pier 15, South Harbor, Manila.
According to Fabic, the Navy cutter would be deployed to typhoon-devastated provinces in the Visayas.
“Immediately after the ceremonies, BRP Alcaraz will embark on her first ever mission, that is humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations for the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas,” he said.
The vessel will be transporting relief items from different government agencies and non-governmental organizations.
BRP Alcaraz will also be ferrying Navy personnel that will be utilized for various relief operations, which will include but not limited to clearing operations, medical missions, relief goods distribution, repair and rehabilitation and security augmentation.
It is the Navy’s second modern warship after BRP Gregorio del Pilar.
The two warships would be the primary workhorses in security the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone that include parts of the disputed Spratly group of islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Fabic said the Del Pilar and Alcaraz were both weather high endurance cutters but the latter is better equipped.
The Alcaraz and the Del Pilar, Fabic added, are both armed with an Oto Melara 76 mm naval artillery but the former has additional guns not found on the latter.
William B. Depasupil