19 Februari 2012
USCGS Dallas WHEC 716 (photo : Eucom)
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—If things go according to plan, the Philippine Navy would be getting its second Hamilton ship by May of this year, Vice Admiral Alexander Pama said Saturday.
Speaking to reporters in a chance interview after the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Homecoming, Pama said that he has received the formal letter of offer on the Hamilton Class Cutter US Coast Guard Dallas.
“Kung masusunod yung schedule, bago matapos and taon, dalawa na yung Secretary Class natin. Maaring May (If the schedule will be followed, before the end of the year we will have two Secretary Class vessels),” Pama told reporters.
In May 2011, the Philippine Navy Acquired a Hamilton Class Cutter, which the Philippine Navy christened as BRP-Gregorio del Pilar, from the United States as excess defense article under the Foreign Assistance Act.
Like the BRP-Gregorio del Pilar, the Dallas will likely be stripped off most of its equipment and armaments. Pama said they requested that some of the equipment be retained on the ship.
“Naiintindihan naman natin na ibang kaggamitan doon ay di basta-basta pwedeng ipamigay… Kasama sa pag-uusapan kung ano iyong pwedeng i-retain (We understand that some of the equipment they can’t give away easily… This is still included in the negotiations, which equipment can be retained),” Pama said adding that both parties are still in the initial stages of the negotiation
When asked where the Dallas will be deployed, Pama said: “We will cross the bridge when we get there.”
He said that they are currently arranging for the transfer of the vessel and training personnel.
However, he admitted that normally, vessels are deployed in tandem. BRP-Gregorio del Pilar, which was commissioned last December 2011, was deployed to the Malampaya natural gas field in the West Philippine Sea.
The United States Congress formally approved the transfer of the Dallas Cutter to the Philippines on February 10.