BRP Jose Rizal, the Navy’s first ever missile-capable warship, was sent on Wednesday to Hawaii, its maiden mission, where it will be participating in the world’s largest maritime exercise.
Navy chief Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo led Navy officials in sending off the newly-commissioned ship, with an embarked AW109 helicopter, at the Alava Wharf in Subic Bay, Zambales.
“This is her first mission,” said Navy public affairs officer Lt. Cmdr. Maria Christina Roxas of the deployment of BRP Jose Rizal, which was commissioned on July 10 during rites presided by President Duterte.
The ship, constructed by Hyundai Heavy Industries, arrived at the Subic anchorage area on May 23 after a five-day voyage from Hyundai’s shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.
BRP Jose Rizal is one of the two frigates to be built by Hyundai for P18 billion under the AFP modernization program.
The construction of the BRP Jose Rizal began in 2017, followed by the second ship a few months later. The second ship, which will be named BRP Antonio Luna, is due for delivery later this year.
“Our participation in these exercise marks the beginning of a new era of naval operations as we build up our capabilities for modern warfare,” said Bacordo, referring to the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.
The US-hosted exercise will be running from August 17 to 31. It will be participated in by a number of navies, including from Australia, Canada, China, France, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
Through RIMPAC, Roxas said, the Navy “will be able to simulate and test the capabilities of this newly acquired platform.” She said the exercise will provide BRP Jose Rizal a venue “to test the proficiency of personnel as they integrate in a wider range of operations.”
Bacordo challenged the Navy contingent, led by BRP Jose Rizal commanding officer Capt. Jerry Garrido Jr., “to maximize your training experience so that when you return home, you will have a lot to share with the rest of the Navy.”
“This will boost your team training and increase your operational readiness. But all of you need to observe safety protocols. In this challenging times, it is imperative to work together, learn together and be safe together,” said Bacordo.