The Philippine Navy (PN) on Friday officially welcomed the prospective BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), the country’s second guided-missile frigate, and its crew.
Gracing the arrival ceremony at Pier 13, South Harbor in Manila were Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar who served as guest of honor, PN chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, Offshore Patrol Combat Force head Commodore Joe Anthony Orbe, Littoral Combat Force chief Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad, and other senior military officials.
In his speech, Villar called the BRP Antonio Luna “the most modern surface combatant of the Philippine Navy…it is world-class and capable of competing with other world-class ships in armed forces around the world”.
“With our sailors who are among definitely the best in the world, I can say that with this addition to the Navy we’re definitely improving our position as one of the stronger armed forces and navies in the world… I give all my praises to the skilled and experienced sailors of the Philippine Navy,” he said.
Bacordo called the arrival of BRP Antonio Luna as “a momentous event in the history of the Philippine Navy. “As our competence and capacity continue to grow through the years, the Philippine Navy consistently pursues its modernization thrust – with the people and more importantly, for the Filipino people,” he said.
“From the decommissioning of PN legacy assets to our continuous effort in upgrading our fleet, the Philippine Navy is fully committed to becoming a more credible unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he added.
The BRP Antonio Luna was earlier given at-sea honors by the PN last February 9 through a meeting procedure conducted by the country’s first guided-missile frigate BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) and a fly-by of the Air Force’s FA-50 jets as it entered the Philippine territorial sea.
The ship had to stay in the anchorage off Subic Bay, Zambales to observe the mandatory quarantine period for the crew prior to this event. The BRP Antonio Luna has a maiden crew of 101 officers and sailors and is commanded by Capt. Charles Merric Villanueva.
The frigate will be formally handed over to the Philippines, christened, and commissioned into service tentatively on the fourth week of March. (PNA)