The Philippine Navy’s first missile-capable warship, which will be christened BRP Jose Rizal (FF150) once it is commissioned to service, finally arrived in Subic, Zambales today, May 23 after its five day maiden voyage from Ulsan, South Korea.
Upon reaching the Philippine waters early morning of May 21, FF150 exchanged signals and communications through radio with BRP Quezon (PS70) that is currently deployed in Mavulis Island, Batanes.
On early morning of May 22, the Naval Forces Northern Luzon welcomed FF150 by rendering a meeting procedure with its first patrol boat division composed of three patrol boats at the vicinity of Bolinao, Pangasinan. Later in the afternoon, BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS17) with one Augusta Westland (AW) 109 helicopter and C-90 Fixed Wing Aircraft conducted a meeting procedure with FF150 along the vicinity of Sta. Cruz, Zambales. It was then escorted by PS17 to its designated anchorage area.
Earlier today, frigate Jose Rizal was accorded the traditional passing honors with PS17 and three multipurpose assault crafts (MPACs). The momentous event was captured during the fly-by of two naval helicopters – the anti-submarine helicopter, AW159 and AW109.
The Commander, Offshore Combat Force, Commodore Karl Decapia who presided the arrival of FF150 indicated that this signals the realization of a modern navy that is capable of imposing the Navy’s territorial defense mandate. This frigate is capable of fighting the four dimensions of warfare. He then thanked Philippine leadership for standing behind the PN modernization in pursuit of a credible and modern navy.
In a separate statement, the Philippine Fleet commander, Rear Adm. Loumer Bernabe greeted all the officers and men of FF150, PN Frigate Owners representatives and the support team from Republic of Korea, saying, “We are one with the Filipino people in expressing our profound gratitude in bringing pride and honor to the Philippine Navy and the AFP”.
“Our countrymen expect nothing less than the selfless and honorable service that we in the Fleet have sworn to uphold and protect. I enjoin everyone to sustain the momentum that you have gained and continue to aspire for competence and excellence”, he added.
While at anchor, the sailing crew will undergo two-week quarantine in adherence to the strict health protocols being implemented by the Philippine government to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Technical Inspection and Acceptance of the frigate shall commence after the quarantine period. A simple arrival and commissioning ceremony is poised to be conducted on June 19 coinciding with the birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal, the ship’s namesake.
The arrival of FF150 in the country is yet another major leap toward the fulfillment of the PN’s thrust of having modern platforms and systems which provide opportunities for its personnel to develop modern mindsets and propel the whole organization into becoming a multi-capable naval force responsive to our maritime nation’s defense and development.
~Press release and photos courtesy of the Philippine Navy