By Don Tagala, ABS CBN North America Bureau
CHARLESTON, SC – As the newest Philippine warship makes its way to the Philippines from Charleston, South Carolina, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. told the officers and crew of the BRP Ramon Alcaraz that the Philippines will exert all efforts to ease the tension in the West Philippine Sea, but is also ready to defend it, if needed.
“To be able to make sure the BRP Alcaraz will be properly managed, I think you had a very extensive training, I’m sure the Filipino people are eagerly waiting,” Cuisia said.
On the eve of its departure to the Philippines, Cuisia visited vessel and congratulated its officers and crew for a job well done.
For about a year, the BRP Alcaraz underwent a $15.6 Million retrofitting and extended refurbishment while its officers and crew underwent training with the US Navy.
Formerly known as USCGC Dallas, the BRP Alcaraz is the second Weather High Endurance Cutter the Philippines has acquired from the US government.
The 378-foot warship and its 88 Filipino officers and crew will be joining its sister ship, the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar, which was also acquired from the US Navy in 2011.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank the US Government and the US Coast Guard,” Cuisia said.
The Philippine envoy also said that the name of the newest warship comes with great responsibility. World War II hero, Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, was credited for downing three enemy planes during the Japanese invasion and for having a distinguished record during his service to the Philippines.
The BRP Ramon Alcaraz left South Carolina on Monday morning and is expected to arrive in the Philippines in the first week of august.