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President Aquino welcomes BRP Ramon Alcaraz to Subic Bay
Aug 06, 2013

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), the country's second Hamilton-class cutter from the United States, received a rousing welcome here upon its arrival on Tuesday at the Alava Wharf in this free port.

President Benigno Aquino III, together with top military officials and cabinet members, welcomed the 87 crew members of the ship led by Capt. Ernesto Baldovino who returned to the country after 14 months of training in the United States.

Mr. Aquino was greeted by Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman and administrator Roberto V. Garcia, along with members of the SBMA board of directors before the President was given arrival honors.

The 3,250-ton frigate is the second of several former US Coast Guard Hamilton-class cutters that will serve the Philippine Navy. It had served as the USCGC Dallas before it was turned over to the Philippines under the Foreign Military Sales program of the United States.

In his address, Mr. Aquino said that the country's acquisition of BRP Ramon Alcaraz is a clear indication that the government is intent in boosting the capability of its armed forces.

He added that the 115-meter ship, along with the other Hamilton-class cutter BRP Gregorio del Pilar, improved the Philippine Navy's capability in protecting the country's territory.

"Sa tulong ng mga barkong ito, naging mas pang-matagalan, mas malawak at mas mabilis ang pagtatanod sa ating mga baybayin (With these ships, securing our coastlines became more intensive, more expansive and more efficient)," he said.

Mr. Aquino also said that the warships will heighten the patrolling of the country's 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone, as well as improve the response time to threats and search and rescue operations.

In the same occasion, Mr. Aquino thanked Capt. Baldovino and his crew for the safe and peaceful voyage home of the Alcaraz.

He then challenged them to perform their duty by following the examples set by heroes who willingly offered their lives to protect the country.

Mr. Aquino told the crew to keep in mind the bravery of World War II hero Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, who commanded the Philippine Offshore Patrol's Q-112 Abra, which shot down three Japanese fighter planes.

"Dehado man sa gamit, dehado sa sitwasyon, dehado sa kasanayan, pero hindi siya nagpatinag sa kalaban. Nagawang daigin ni Commodore Alcaraz ang tila napaka-imposibleng sitwasyon dahil mulat siyang walang ibang magtatanggol sa ating bansa kundi sila (Despite the unfavorable odds, lack of training and equipment, he never backed out. Commodore Alcaraz was able to overcome the seemingly impossible task because he knew that no one would protect the country but his troops)," President Aquino said.

BRP Ramon Alcaraz will be homeported in Subic Bay, the President also said. (30)


President Benigno Aquino III (second from right) views the BRP Ramon Alcaraz from aboard the presidential yacht Ang Pangulo at the Subic Bay Freeport on Tuesday. With Aquino are (from right): Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano, Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Del Rosario, and SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia.

President Benigno Aquino III (second from right) views the BRP Ramon Alcaraz from aboard the presidential yacht Ang Pangulo at the Subic Bay Freeport on Tuesday. With Aquino are (from right): Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano, Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Del Rosario, and SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia.


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