MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) tendered a traditional welcome ceremony to its newly-acquired Del Pilar-class Frigate (DCPF), Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Andres Bonifacio (FF17), upon its arrival at Pier 13, South Harbor, Manila on December 09 2016.
Guest of Honor and Speaker, Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenzana joined the PN personnel and the families of the arriving sailors in welcoming them after three months of preparatory training for familiarization and orientation. Also present to witness the arrival of FF17 is the new United States Ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Y. Kim.
BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF17) is the third DCPF of the PN along with its predecessors, BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (FF15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF16). It was named after Andres Bonifacio as a fitting tribute to his heroism as a Filipino revolutionary leader and the president of the Tagalog Republic. It also serves as a symbol of recognition as he was considered the de facto national hero of the Philippines.
FF17 arrived from its more than a month voyage starting from its port of origin in Alameda, California to Hawaii, USA and finally, the Philippines. It is currently skippered by Navy Capt. Brendo J Casaclang, after being formally turned over, christened and commissioned to PN’s service on July 22, 2016 (Philippine time) in Alameda, California.
The FF17 is the former Weather High Endurance Cutter (WHEC) Boutwell of the United States Coast Guard. Former US President Barrack Obama pledged this ship to the Philippines, along with Research Vessel Melville, now BRP Gregorio Velasquez (AGR702), during his visit to the country in November 2015 on the sidelines of the APEC Leader’s Summit.
Just like the other two DCPFs, FF17 is primarily important in the maritime security and sovereignty patrols of the PN, in line with its mandate to protect the people and the state. It will also serve as platform in empowering and upgrading our soldiers’ knowledge and skills in handling high-level and advanced equipment/vessel.