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Philippine Navy welcomes first missile-capable frigate

The Philippine Navy officially welcomed the country’s first missile-capable frigate, BRP Jose Rizal (FF150), at the Alava Wharf in Subic, Zambales on Monday.

In a statement, Philippine Navy Public Affairs Acting Director Maria Christina Roxas said the new warship, which was from South Korea, was tendered a traditional arrival ceremony led by the commander of Philippine Fleet Reer Admiral Loumer Bernabe after its sailing crew’s 14-day quarantine period.

Roxas said a separate handover, christening and commissioning ceremony, which was initially scheduled on June 19, will be postponed to a later date due to unforeseen circumstances.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to attend the event as the guest of honor and speaker, she added.

BRP Jose Rizal has a maiden crew of 65 sailors headed by its first commanding officer Captain Jerry Garrido Jr.

Meanwhile, Bernabe expressed his gratitude to all the officers and men of BRP Rizal for their efforts and perseverance in “familiarizing the different systems of the ships through constant training and drills.”

He also thanked the South Korean government and the Hyundai Heavy Industries Shipbuilder for their support in the country’s endeavor to “modernize the Philippine Navy” and for bringing the vessel and its crew home safe.

“Together, let us bring our Navy to the next level, not only because of more modern ships, weapons and sensors but because of more competent and confident personnel, equipped with modern and disciplined mindsets” Bernabe said.

Moreover, the South Korean government and HHI also donated personal protective equipment to the Philippines to help in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. —Ma. Angelica Garcia/LDF, GMA News