SUBIC BAY, Zambales – The brand new, four-dimensional warfare-capable frigate contracted with South Korean shipbuilding company, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), has formally entered service with the Philippine Navy as BRP Jose Rizal (FF150) in a commissioning ceremony held at the Alava Wharf last July 10. Philippine President and AFP Commander In Chief, Rodrigo Duterte, virtually graced the ceremony with a video message as history unfolded for the PN which now has in its inventory a credible warship that is at par with other navies in the world. Others in attendance were the Secretary of National Defense, Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Felimon Santos Jr., Navy Chief Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, major service commanders and other top defense and military officials. Present also were South Korean Ambassador Han Dong-man, HHI representatives, Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino and SBMA Chairperson Atty. Wilma Eisma.
President Duterte recognized the ceremony as “the beginning of a new era of development and transformation for the Philippine Navy” which he applauded “for always delivering the highest standard of service to our country and [the] people”. With this, the President enjoined the Navy to likewise double “the passion and commitment you have already manifested in ensuring the peace and progress truly deserved by our country”.
In the preceding ceremony, Secretary Lorenzana received the ships documents and certificates from Mr. Bokyeung Kang, HHI Project Manager, which marked the formal transfer of ownership of FF150 to the Philippines. It was followed by christening rites with Editha Aguilar-Lorenzana as the lady sponsor.
The SND thanked HHI “for building in record time” the ship that “represents an advancement… being the first missile-capable frigate of the Philippine Navy”.
“We look forward that this ship will be participating in some of the [naval] exercises in the region and it will be used purely for defensive purposes”, added Lorenzana.
Naming the vessel after Dr. Jose Rizal aims to uphold the legacy of our national hero and serve as a tangible representation of his patriotism. Giving more significance to the event was the attendance of the living descendants of Jose Rizal with Mr. Emmanuel G. Herbosa being the eldest.
In his remarks, Vice Admiral Bacordo expressed his “feeling of immense pride because of what I think is a great milestone and accomplishment of the defense sector in decades… [which] is a testament and the reflection of our government’s commitment to protect and show our love for the country as our national hero Jose Rizal instructed and inspired us to do so.”
FF150 arrived in the Philippines from South Korea on May 23 steered by the maiden crew of 65 sailors under the command of Capt. Jerry Garrido Jr. The crew and the vessel had to undergo quarantine first due to the prevailing coronavirus disease before members of the Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee (TIAC) could board the ship for examination.
This missile-equipped warship that is capable of carrying-out anti-air, anti-surface, anti-submarine and electronic warfare operations is now the face of the Philippine Navy and a dream-come-true for an organization that envisioned to become stronger and more capable to better serve the country and the Filipino people.
~Press release and photos courtesy of the Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office