Casa Blanca

BRP Ramon Alcaraz: A new source of pride

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT -- The arrival here of the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), the newest and most modern ship of the Philippine Navy, brought a sense of happiness, security and pride among relatives of the ship’s crew, as well as spectators who witnessed the welcoming ceremony for the ship on Tuesday.

“We are proud and we feel more secure with the newly-acquired ship,” said Marybeth Carbonel, a 32-year old resident of the coastal province of La Union, and wife of QM Villamor Carbonel, a crewmember of Alcaraz.

Carbonel said the new Philippine frigate brings new hope and inspiration to her husband and other members of the Philippine Navy.

“They are very happy to know that the long-delayed AFP Modernization Program is now progressing,” she added.

Petty Officer 3 Jomar Corpuz’s wife Salome, was as proud as she was excited to see her husband who had been away for more than a year while training as crewmember of the ship.

Mrs. Corpuz said she believes that the ship will be a big help to the Philippine Navy because it will boost its capability in maritime security operations, including anti-terrorism and rescuing those in distress.

“Mas madali silang makakapag-responde kung kinakailangan,” she said, referring to rescue missions and providing security against threats from pirates and incursion that the Navy undertakes.

LIke Marybeth and Salome, Sharlyn Martonito of Silang, Cavite agreed that the BRP Alcaraz is a new source of pride for her, especially since her husband P03 Marlon Martonito was among those chosen to man the new frigate.

“I am proud that my husband was chosen to be among the pioneers of the Alcaraz, which represents a stronger Philippine Navy that could provide security to our country,” Martonito said.

The 3,250-ton BRP Ramon Alcaraz is a former US Coast Guard Hamilton-class cutter before it was acquired by the Philippine Navy from the United States Government.  It is equipped with two 3,000-horsepower (hp) engines capable of a longer sustainable speed of 15 knots, and two 18,000-hp gas turbines, which could bring the ship’s speed to more than 25 knots for urgent situations.

President Benigno S. Aquino III and US Ambassador Harry Thomas led other government officials in welcoming the ship’s 87 crew and officers headed by Capt. Ernesto Baldomino in a traditional arrival ceremony at the Alava Pier yesterday morning.

Meanwhile, students from various schools in the city, like Micaela Obien, Maryjane Montances and Joy Roxas of Aura College, were among the hundreds of students from various schools in Olongapo City and the Subic Bay Freeport who trooped to Alava Pier amidst mild rain to witness the arrival of the Alcaraz.

“Nakatutuwa at nakakataas-noo,” said Obien of the feeling. “Kahit second-hand lang ang barko ay alam naming malaking tulong ang maibibigay nito sa ating Philippine Navy na kulang na kulang sa barko at makabagong kagamitan.”

Obien said she believes that the Alcaraz, together with BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF15), would strengthen Philippine capability to defend its maritime areas, “especially from China and other countries that continue to bully our fishermen,” she added.

“With the tension going on at Scarborough Shoal or the Panatag Islets, it’s good to know that we now have ships that could protect and safeguard our territory,” said Rodmar Eda, 17, a student from Aura College here. (30)

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