DND drops plan to buy used ships, to buy new instead
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - April 29, 2013 - 6:21pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of National Defense (DND) is discarding its earlier plan to acquire used ships and is now planning to buy two brand-new frigates to boost the Navy’s security capabilities.

DND Undersecretary Fernando Manalo said acquiring second-hand ships would be more costly in the long run as these would require repairs and upgrades.

“We realized that it will be expensive in the long run if we are going to buy second hand (ships). As much as possible, if we have budget, we will buy new ones,” he said in a press briefing on Monday.

Manalo said they would spend about P18 billion for the two brand new ships. The government previously allotted P12 billion to buy two used frigates.

Manalo said they are waiting for the Navy to submit a decision package, which contains the technical specifications they need.

He said the two brand new ships would be acquired through public bidding. The procurement process may be completed within the second quarter.

Manalo claimed that companies from South Korea, Spain and Singapore have expressed interest to join the bidding.

The government originally sought to acquire the vessels through government-to-government transactions.

Officials, however, are now eyeing a public bidding reportedly due to the interest of several suppliers to provide equipment to the military.

A government-to-government transaction is usually faster than a public bidding but the DND is optimistic that the acquisition would not be delayed.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin previously said a public bidding would ensure transparency and would allow them to compare the ships being offered by potential suppliers.

The DND is fast-tracking the military’s upgrade program amid the recent aggressive actions of China in the West Philippine Sea, the subject of a long-standing territorial row in the region.

Officials, however, claimed that the acquisition of new military assets is not directed against any country.

To beef up its territorial defense capabilities, the Navy acquired two warships from the United States namely the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which arrived in 2011 and the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, which is expected to be in the country by July

The government spent more than P1 billion to acquire the two ships. - with B. Beltran

 

DEFENSE SECRETARY VOLTAIRE GAZMIN DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE GOVERNMENT MANALO RAMON ALCARAZ SHIPS SOUTH KOREA SPAIN AND SINGAPORE UNDERSECRETARY FERNANDO MANALO UNITED STATES WEST PHILIPPINE SEA
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