Fund for BRP Alcaraz's commissioning rites diverted to 'Yolanda' victims
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - November 19, 2013 - 5:07pm

MANILA, Philippines - The commissioning rites for the warship BRP Ramon Alcaraz would be “low key” and “simple” as the funds for the ceremony have been allotted for relief efforts in typhoon-hit areas.

Navy spokesman Lieutenant Commander Gregory Fabic said they might not send invitations for the event, which has been slated for Friday, November 22.

“It (commissioning) will be low key. The commissioning will be very simple. All the funds will be realigned to the operations in Tacloban,” Fabic said in an interview yesterday.

“(We don’t expect) much fanfare. We will just commission Alcaraz so it can be used for the operations of the Navy,” he added.

Fabic said the commissioning would be held on Subic but it remains unsure whether President Aquino would attend the event.

The Navy might do away with the program that comes with the commissioning of naval vessels. Fabic said the event may be open to selected personalities only.

Commissioning rites usually involve elaborate rituals and are often witnessed by top officials and dignitaries. Military bands are usually tapped to provide entertainment to the audience. Snacks are often served to guests, who sometimes are treated with a tour of the vessel.

The government acquired the BRP Alcaraz from the United States (US) Coast Guard to boost the Navy’s maritime security capabilities.

Manned by 14 officers and 74 enlisted personnel, the ship 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 formally welcomed last Aug. 6 in a ceremony led by the president.

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.

The US Coast Guard used the vessel for drug and migrant interdiction, law enforcement, search and rescue, living marine resources protection, and defense readiness.

BRP Alcaraz is the second frigate acquired by the Philippines from the US. The first one is BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which was commissioned by the Navy in 2011.

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 defense excess article program.

ALCARAZ BRP COAST GUARD COMMODORE RAMON ALCARAZ FABIC LIEUTENANT COMMANDER GREGORY FABIC PRESIDENT AQUINO RAMON ALCARAZ SAN DIEGO AND HONOLULU SOUTH CAROLINA
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