PH Navy to get ship, rubber boats from South Korea

MANILA, Philippines – South Korea is giving the Philippine Navy a transport ship, rubber boats, and computers, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said on Wednesday, June 4. 

"They are giving us one LCU (landing craft utility) and 16 rubber boats. They also promised to give 200 computers for the security elements of their Unit Araw in Leyte," Gazmin said.

The LCU can transport up to 100 troops, excluding the crew of about 40. It will boost the Navy's sealift amphibious force, said spokesperson Commander Gregory Fabic. "It will help us transport troops and supplies," he said.

It is expected to arrive within the year.

The Navy has 2 LCUs in its current inventory – BRP Tagbanua and BRP Manobo – which saw action in the evacuation of Filipinos from Sabah and the transport of troops and supply in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Both emergency situations happened in 2013.

The donations mark the growing defense partnership between the Philippines and South Korea. The Philippines signed in April an P18-billion FA-50 fighter jets contract with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). (READ: PH Air Force a joke no more, gets fighter jets)

In the aftermath of Yolanda, South Korea also sent monetary assistance and a contigent of medical personnel and engineers to Leyte. 

In the 1950s, Filipino troops, including the young Fidel Ramos who would later become president, also helped South Korea in the war against North Korea. 

Gazmin was in Seoul last week to attend the Civil Military Technology Exhibition. On June 10, the defense department will recognize the South Korean soldiers for their contributions to the rehabiliation of Tanauan and Palo towns in Leyte.

The stay of the South Koreans troops have been extended until December 2014. –