The BRP Alcaraz, the second warship acquired by the Philippine government from Washington, will arrive in the country on August 3.
In a statement released Thursday, the Philippine Embassy in Washington said Philippine Consul General to Los Angeles Maria Hellen Barber de La Vega and members of the Filipino community welcomed The Alcaraz as it arrived at the 52nd US Naval Base in San Diego, California on June 29.
The Philippine Navy’s second Hamilton class cutter is the sister ship of the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which was acquired by the Philippines under the Excess Defense Article and Military Assistance Program.
The BRP Gregorio del Pilar was acquired in August 2011, and was sent last year in the middle of the standoff with Chinese vessels in the Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) in the West Philippine Sea.
The Alcaraz arrived in San Diego on June 28 after travelling 2,000 nautical miles from Charleston in South Carolina.
It has 14 officers and 74 crew led by Captain Ernesto Baldovino.
“The ship is capable of conducting patrols for long periods of time and can withstand heavy weather and rough sea conditions,” the statement said.
It was named after Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, a Philippine Navy officer, who distinguished himself during the Second World War when the patrol boat he commanded was credited for shooting down three Japanese aircraft.
De La Vega said that Alcaraz is a “fitting acquisition for the AFP’s modernization program, and enhances the naval assets of the country.”
The new warship arrives amid the ever-increasing territorial tensions between the Philippines and China.
Manila is a long-standing ally of Washington in the Asia Pacific region. It has repeatedly banked on its decades-old Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) in the face of China’s aggressiveness in the region despite a lack of an actual commitment from the United States that it will come to the Philippines’ aid in case armed conflict erupts.