Roxas Boulevard, Manila – The Philippine Navy (PN) will formally receive its third Del Pilar Class Frigate (DPCF), the former US Coast Guard (USCG) Boutwell, the Weather High-Endurance Cutter (WHEC) 719, through the Decommissioning by the USCG and the subsequent Christening and Commissioning Ceremonies by the PN to be conducted at USCG Base in Alameda, California on July 21, 8 a.m. (US time).
The third DCPF will be christened and commissioned into the active service of the Philippine Navy effective July 21 as Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Andres Bonifacio (FF17). Naming the vessel after him is a fitting tribute as a Filipino revolutionary leader and the president of the Tagalog Republic. It also gives him further recognition as he was considered de facto national hero of the Philippines.
The PN contingent witnessing the said event is headed by the Commander, Philippine Fleet, Rear Adm. Bayani R. Gaerlan, together with Commo. Robert A. Empedrad, Commander, Offshore Combat Force; Capt. Alberto B. Carlos, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (AC of NS) for Operations; Col. Antonio N. Mangoroban, AC of NS for Logistics; and Capt. Mac Raul B. Racacho, AC of NS for Naval Systems Engineering. Their US counterparts will be headed by Rear Adm. Joseph Vojvodich, the Assistant Commandant for Acquisition and Chief Acquisition Officer.
FF17 is skippered by Capt. Brendo J. Casaclang. The crew will undergo training and preparations for its voyage for almost three months and will tentatively depart the continental US on October of this year.
It can be recalled that 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 on November 2015 on the sidelines of APEC Leader’s Summit.
Just like BRP Gregorio del Pilar (FF15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF16), the other two DCPFs, FF17 will be primarily important for the PN’s maritime security and sovereignty patrols in line with the Navy’s 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 such high-level and advanced equipment/vessel. This will be done through series of trainings of the crew of the ship.