By Francis Wakefield
Philippine Navy (PN) Chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad said acquiring 12 fastcrafts will help the Navy secure the waters of Western Mindanao to fight smuggling, piracy and even terrorism.
In an interview, Empedrad said their present inventory is already aging. The fastcrafts, some of which were acquired from Korea “are already very old and are no longer fast. It no longer has capability.”
“The Navy is requesting if we can acquire 12 fastcrafts, we can secure the vast waters of Mindanao, Sulu, Sulu Sea and all the waters thereat,” he said.
Empedrad said if they could acquire new fastcrafts with pinpoint accuracy and a weapons system they can engage the enemy especially with the President’s marching order to sink the enemies encroaching on Philippine waters.
“So that’s what we need, we need to replace our fastcraft and if we can get at least 10 ships we can secure the waters of Mindanao from being used by the enemies of the state,” he added.
The Navy is eyeing assets that can stay at sea for seven to 10 days.
The technical working group has reportedly finished the requirements ready for submission to Defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
“I’m sure when the President sees the project, he will approve it,” Empedrad added.
“Ready na kami eh [We are ready]. Hopefully in our next conference with the President, hopefully we can present this, so that we can seek the approval of the President,” he added.