The third Hamilton-class cutter which
President Barack Obama has
pledged to donate to the Philippine Navy (PN) will greatly aid the country in
its ongoing military modernization efforts. US
This was disclosed by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire Gazmin during an interview Friday.
He added that the transfer of the US Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell will entail minimal cost as the PN will only pay for crew training and the fuel needed to transfer the ship to the country.
With the arrival of this ship in the latter part of 2016, the PN will be operating three units of Hamilton-class cutters -- including the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16).
The White House has earlier identified the two ships Obama has pledged to donate to the PN.
These ships are the high-endurance US Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell and research vessel, R/V Melville.
"This will provide the
the ability to maintain
greater maritime presence and patrols throughout its EEZ. We are also in the
process of transferring the research vessel R/V Melville to support naval
research and law enforcement capabilities," it added. Philippines
remains the largest recipient of maritime security assistance, and will receive
a record USD79 million in bilateral assistance of the FY 2015 funds allocated
for developing Southeast Asian maritime capabilities. Philippines
This assistance is largely focused on building the training and logistical base for expanding the Philippine Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Forces’ ability to conduct operations within waters off the
"We are assisting with naval maintenance capacity building as well as providing interdiction vessels, naval fleet upgrades, communications equipment, and aircraft procurement," the White House said.
The US also vowed to continue to support the National Coast Watch System and assist the Philippines through the Global Security Contingency Fund (GSCF), building capacity in Philippine maritime vessel maintenance, training, law enforcement support, and intelligence assistance to expand the country’s ability to detect, track, and interdict where necessary criminal and terrorist elements involved in the smuggling of sensitive items and illicit goods.