September 12, 2023
MANILA – The Philippine Navy on Monday commissioned two patrol ships donated by the United States — the BRP Valentin Diaz (PS-177) and BRP Ladislao Diwa (PS-178) — the last two of 14 Cyclone-class vessels of the US Navy.
Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. welcomed the “timely” donation from the United States. “The sooner we can complete… our littoral defenses the sooner we can pursue a more robust position in defending our sovereign rights in the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone,” Teodoro said in his speech at the ceremony.
The Department of National Defense is seeking a bigger budget for 2024 to achieve the military’s modernization goals. Only P50 billion was approved from the P115-billion budget for the modernization program at last week’s budget deliberations.
Amid continued Chinese incursions, Teodoro said diplomacy should be backed with military strength. “If your diplomacy does not have a strong spinal cord then they would only use this to push us around… We need to match it with a strong nation, a strong armed forces.”
Navy Flag officer in command Vice Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr. said the added ships of the Littoral Combat Force would boost the Navy’s capability “to defend our maritime nation’s interests and bolster our adaptability and agility in addressing various security challenges.” INQ