Thank you, goodbye: Say farewell to PH Navy's four legacy ships

Four legacy ships of the Philippine Navy (PN) will be decommissioned from service Monday, March 1, since it is no longer practical to keep the ageing and vintage assets in the military's fleet.

Philippine Navy (MANILA BULLETIN)

PN Flag Officer in Command Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said BRP Quezon (PS-70), BRP Pangasinan (PS-31), BRP Salvador Abcede (PC-114), and BRP Emilio Liwanag (PC-118) will be officially retired in a ceremony in Sangley Point, Cavite.

"They have outlived their usefulness already. These ships can no longer attain their desired speed and they are already so costly to maintain. They even stay longer in the shipyard for maintenance than in their operational areas," Bacordo said.

All four legacy ships were built in the 1960s and 1970s and were used by the United States and South Korea during the World War 2.

BRP Quezon, a Rizal-class patrol corvette, is a former US Navy Auk-class minesweeper that was transferred to the Philippine Navy in 1967.

Meanwhile, BRP Pangasinan, a Malvar-class corvette, was originally built as USS PCE-891 of the US Navy until it was transferred to the Philippine Navy in 1948.

On the other hand, BRP Salvado Abcede and BRP Emilio Liwanag, were formerly dubbed the Patrol Killer Medium (PKM)-231 and PKM-233, respectively. Both Tomas Batilo-class fast attack crafts were transferred by the South Korean government to the Philippine Navy in 1995 and 2006.

Currently, the said legacy ships are being used to patrol and protect the country's vast territorial waters.

Bacordo said that the money alloted for maintaining the World War II-era ships might be better spent in sutaining the new assets that the Navy recently acquired.

"Instead of spreading your resources thinly among different vessels, you decommission the others and the budget for those vessels will be transferred in the newer vessels so they will have bigger budget for sustainment," he explained.

The military personnel assigned at the retiring legacy ships will be trained anew to man the ships that are in the pipeline of the Navy's modernization program and the ones that have already been delivered such as the missile-capable frigates BRP Jose Rizal (FF150) and the future BRP Antonio Luna (FF151).

"These frigates are not 100-percent filled-out yet. We have some new fast attack interdiction missiles arriving so some of the personnel will be trained to man these future interdiction craft missiles," Bacordo said.