MANILA, Philippines (Update) – The Philippine military will begin to decomission World War 2 ships it acquired from the US, said Defense Secretary Deflin Lorenzana said on Friday, December 9.
A 3rd warship from the US Coast Guard arrived in the Philippines on Friday. It was acquired to boost the ill-equipped Philippine Navy's maritime patrol capabilities.
"We’re happy to welcome the arrival of the newly acquired ship of the Philippine Navy, the 3rd Gregorio Del Pilar class frigate... Sometime ago I was talking with the flag officer in command (FOIC) and I said, 'Maybe we should start decommissioning several of the World War II ships that the US gave us after the war," Lorenzana said in his speech at the arrival ceremony for BRP Andres Bonifacio.
On stage, Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado pointed toward the back of the stage, where the flagship BRP Rajah Humabon is docked.
"The FOIC said, 'As we acquire more ships like this one (BRP Andres Bonifacio), we will decommision some. So that our capability will not be diminished," said Lorenzana.
The US military used to have large bases in the Philippines, hosting tens of thousands of American troops. The Philippine Senate voted to evict the bases in 1991, but the two countries remain as defense treaty allies.
The previous administration of President Benigno Aquino III embarked on a modest military modernization program in response to the aggressiveness of China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Aside from the 3 warships from the US Coast Guard, the previous government acquired 12 fighter jets for the Philippine Air Force and two missile-equipped brand new warships that have yet to be delivered among other assets.
The administration of President Rodrigo Duterte completed the contract for the 2 brand new warships. He vowed to continue the modernization of military. – Rappler.com