The BRP Ramon Alcaraz, the second Hamilton-class cutter decommissioned by the United States Coast Guard and acquired by the Philippine government, arrived at the Guam Naval Base over the weekend.
Alcaraz arrived 10 days after it left Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii.
A statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the ship’s 88 officers and crew were greeted warmly by members of the Filipino community in Guam.
Filipino Community of Guam President Roy Adonay presented special gifts to Capt. Ernesto Baldovino, the Alcaraz’s skipper.
The ship will be docked at the Naval Base Guam from July 27 to 28 for refueling and restocking. It is scheduled to leave for Manila on July 28.
It is expected to arrive in early August and will be commissioned to the Philippine Navy by September.
The ship is the second acquisition of the Philippine government under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, under which Washington will help Manila to modernize its armed forces.
The Philippines’ plan to modernize its army comes amid China’s increasing aggressiveness in its claim of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Beijing last week launched its reorganized coast guard, whose new vessels are said to be equipped with guns and cannons, to better protect its “territories” in the region.
BERNICE CAMILLE V. BAUZON