BRP Jose Rizal commissioning rites set July 10

By Priam Nepomuceno

July 7, 2020, 10:51 am

<p>BRP Jose Rizal. (Photo courtesy of Naval Public Affairs Office)</p>

BRP Jose Rizal. (Photo courtesy of Naval Public Affairs Office)

MANILA – The commissioning ceremony of the Philippine Navy (PN)'s first missile frigate, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), will be held in Subic Bay, Zambales on Friday (July 10).

"(The) hand over, christening, and commissioning ceremony (of BRP Jose Rizal) will take place (in) Subic Bay, Zambales (on July 10)," said PN public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Monday afternoon.

Roxas said President Rodrigo Duterte was officially invited as the guest of honor.

"But we don't have confirmation yet," she said.

BRP Jose Rizal's commissioning ceremony was earlier scheduled for June 19, coinciding with the birthday of the national hero to which the frigate was named after, but this was canceled after one of its crew tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as confirmed by PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo.

"May nag-positive na (isang crew) (One of the crew members tested positive) which was later tested and proved to be negative. But because of SOPs (standard operating procedures) na nag-negative siya, dun nagsimula ngayon ang count ng 14 days (when the results turned negative, we started the 14-day count), so because of the counting of the 14 days, it left the TIAC (Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee) with so little time before the commission. So in order not to hurry the TIAC, the conduct of the technical inspection, we recommended it to be postponed," Bacordo earlier said.

Bacordo added that the crew member already yielded negative results based on confirmatory swabbing at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center that came out earlier in June.

Navy willing to reset rites to accommodate PRRD

Meanwhile, Bacordo said they want the President to attend the commissioning ceremonies of the country's first missile frigate which is scheduled at the Alava Wharf in Subic Bay.

"We recommended that date (July 10) to him but we are still to get a confirmation till now," he added in a media interview Tuesday.

Bacordo added that once the President confirms his attendance, the event will push through will go as scheduled.

However, should the Chief Executive decides to move the commissioning on another day, he said that the PN will comply.

"Should the President schedule it for July 12, then we will move the commissioning date to July 12, and if he will say that he prefers it on July 16 then, we will hold it on that date, but what is important is, we want the President to be the guest-of-honor for the commissioning," Bacordo said.

However, he added that they understand the restrictions imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force and of the Presidential Security Group, as to whether the Chief Executive can attend.

The ship arrived in Subic Bay, Zambales last May 23 after leaving Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea last May 18. BRP Jose Rizal is capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and electronic warfare operations.

BRP Jose Rizal was launched at the HHI shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea on May 23, 2019.

Incidentally, BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), the sistership of BRP Jose Rizal, was launched in the same facility on November 8 of last year.

The contract for the two ships is placed at PHP16 billion with another PHP2 billion for weapon systems and munitions. (PNA)