Noy to lead BRP Alcaraz's arrival ceremony
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2013 - 4:47pm

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino will lead Tuesday's arrival ceremony for BRP Ramon Alcaraz, the warship acquired recently by the Philippine Navy from the United States (US) Coast Guard.

A Navy invitation furnished to the media showed that the welcome rites will be held in the Alava Pier in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone at 10 a.m.

Aquino is expected to deliver an address during the event, which will be attended by top security officials. The president will also do the “welcome handshake” with the BRP Alcaraz crew members.

Capt. Ernesto Baldovino, commanding officer of the ship, will deliver a report on their voyage from the US, which lasted for about two months.

After the arrival ceremony, the 45-year-old ship will be prepared for its commissioning, which is expected to be held next month. The white frigate will also be repainted to grey, the color of Philippine Navy ships.

The BRP Alcaraz anchored at Subic Bay on Sunday and was subjected to quarantine procedures.

Before sailing for Subic, BRP Alcaraz was welcomed by its sister ship BRP Gregorio del Pilar through a “meeting procedure” held in Bolinao, Pangasinan.

Commissioned by the Philippine Navy in 2011, the BRP del Pilar is the first warship acquired by the Philippines from the United States. The ship was first launched in the US in 1965.

The government spent about P450 million to acquire BRP del Pilar and more than P600 million to acquire BRP Alcaraz. The two decades-old ships were acquired under the US government’s defense excess article program.

Critics claimed the BRP Alcaraz is just another hand-me-down from the US and cannot match the might of China, which is asserting its presence in the region.

Supporters, however, said the acquisition of BRP Alcaraz would significantly strengthen the country’s territorial defense capabilities.

Manned by 14 officers and 74 enlisted personnel, BRP Alcaraz reached Philippine waters last August 2 via Casiguran, Aurora.

The ship left its homeport in Charleston, South Carolina last June 10 and made port visits to San Diego and Honolulu, Hawaii before sailing for its last stopover in Guam. The BRP Alcaraz started sailing for Manila on July 27.

The ship was named after Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, a Navy officer who commanded a patrol boat that shot three Japanese aircraft during World War II.

A NAVY ALAVA PIER ALCARAZ BRP COAST GUARD COMMODORE RAMON ALCARAZ ERNESTO BALDOVINO PHILIPPINE NAVY PRESIDENT AQUINO RAMON ALCARAZ UNITED STATES
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