Pier 13, South Harbor, Manila
1 June 2016

President Benigno S. Aquino III led the commissioning ceremony of four new navy ships during the 118th anniversary of the Philippine Navy at Pier 13 in South Harbor, Manila.

The newly commissioned Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Tarlac (LD 601) is the first and the largest Strategic Sealift Vessel in the PN’s arsenal capable of a 16-knot speed, a 30-day endurance and a 9,360-nautical mile operating range.

“Magsisilbi itong multi-role vessel, na maaaring gamitin di lang sa military operations, kundi maging sa humanitarian assistance, disaster response, sealift and logistics, mobile government administration, search and rescue, at mass evacuation. Sa susunod na taon, inaasahan natin ang pagdating ng isa pang barkong tulad nito,” the President said.

The ship is capable of carrying 621 personnel, three helicopters, four amphibious assault vehicles, five trucks, two jeeps, an ambulance, a mobile hospital, two rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIBs) and two 23-meter landing craft utility boats (LCUs).

Also formally commissioned are the BRP Iwak, Agta and Waray, that totals to five heavy-type landing crafts in the PN helping in its humanitarian assistance and disaster response efforts.

“Ngayon, makalipas ang halos anim na taon, kayo na siguro mismo ang makakapagsabi: nabigyang-lakas na natin ang inyong hanay. Pinasigla natin ang inyong surface fleet, gumanda na ang ating air arm, binubuhay na natin ang anti-submarine capability; at ang lahat ng ito, nagagamit na natin sa national security operations,” the President remarked.

The PN has now five naval helicopters, three multi-purpose attack crafts plus other assets that are soon to be delivered: two Frigates, two Anti-Submarine Warfare Capable Helicopters and the country’s third Weather High Endurance Cutter.

President Aquino added that from July 2010 to May 2016, a total of P60.14 billion pesos were released for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization and Capability Upgrade Program, almost double of the combined funds allocated by the previous three administrations to the AFP.

In an effort to further support army personnel, the President also talked about the Executive Order No. 201 he signed in February 2016, which boosted the monthly hazard pay, provisional allowance, and officer’s allowance of the AFP, plus the monthly combat pay, subsistence allowance and the AFP/PNP housing program.

Joined by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Interior and Local Government Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento and Flag Officer in Command Caesar Taccad, President Aquino also led the awarding of outstanding groups and personnel in the Philippine Navy.

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