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Navy, Korean ship builder sign P15-B deal for two frigates

The Department of National Defense (DND) signed a P15-billion contract with Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) for the construction and delivery of two frigates for the Philippine Navy.

In a statement, DND Sec. Delfin Lorenzana led the contract signing as the principal signatory together with HHI officials for the Frigate Acquisition Project at the Navy headquarters on Monday.

The contract worth $336.9 million was approved and granted to HHI on September 23.

The Navy called the acquisition of the two frigates as a "big step" and is by far the most expensive project undertaken by the Duterte administration.

"It is the single most expensive project yet that will be signed by the current administration," it said in a statement.

"The project, likewise, is the biggest project yet for the PN. Most importantly, this marks the entry of the PN into its quest to be a strong and credible navy by year 2020," it added.

South Korean Ambassador Jae Shin Kim led the Korean delegation during the ceremonial signing.

HHI officials Senior Vice President and HHI owner Ki Sun Chung, Senior Sales Officers Ki Young Sung and Jae Rak Kim, and Technical Sales Officer Unchul Kim also attended.

On the side of the Philippines, present with Lorenzana were Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Installation and Logistics Jesus Rey Avilla; Undersecretary for Financial Management Josue Gaverza Jr; Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics Maj. Gen. Job Yucoco.

Also present in the signing were the Chief of Naval Staff Read Admiral Gaudencio C Collado, Commander of the Philippine Fleet Rear Admiral Bayani Gaerlan, Commander of the Western Command Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado, Naval Sea Systems Commander Virme Torralba, and Project Management Team Chairman,Commodore Robert Empedrad.

The Navy currently has two Del Pilar-class frigates in its inventory, the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar and the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, all acquired from the United States. —Joseph Tristan Roxas/NB, GMA News