Corvette program assured with DBM SARO release

By Priam Nepomuceno

December 14, 2021, 4:11 pm

<p>National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana <em>(File photo)</em></p>

National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (File photo)

MANILA – Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday expressed his delight after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) for the 15 percent advance payment for the Philippine Navy (PN)'s Corvette Acquisition Program (CAP).

"We have been waiting for this for the procurement process to proceed," he said when asked by the Philippine News Agency for a reaction after the DBM released the SARO to the DND last Dec. 10.

The SARO worth PHP3.75 billion is intended to "cover the funding requirements for the 15 percent advance payment for the CAP of the PN under the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program."

Lorenzana also said there are still several steps to be done before the contract is signed.

"Our target is before the year ends," he added.

With this development, Lorenzana said the DND can go on with the finalization of the CAP contract.

The budget for the CAP, which consists of two modern corvettes capable of anti-ship, anti-submarine, and anti-air warfare missions, is placed at around PHP28 billion. It will also be equipped with a variety of sensors to allow it to conduct such missions.

The acquisition of these two missile-armed corvettes was done to backstop the two brand-new frigates acquired from South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI).

"They are smaller than the (two Jose Rizal-class frigates) but will also be sufficiently armed," Lorenzana said when asked for a description of the ships. The two Jose Rizal-class frigates measure 107 meters and weighs around 2,600 tons.

Earlier, Lorenzana said while the country has yet to sign a contract with HHI for the two corvettes, the PN is recommending that the company be the one to build these ships for commonality and interoperability.

"(The contract for the) corvette(s), di pa naman napirmahan sa Hyundai, pero yun ang gusto ng Navy dahil para iisa lang ang gagawa ng ating frigates tsaka 'yung corvettes. Para yung sistema nila is pare-pareho, yung mga parts, whatever, interoperability para kung may [masira], madali lang ma-repair (these have yet to be signed by Hyundai, but this is what the Navy wants so that there is only one maker of the frigates and the corvettes. So that their system is the same, the parts, whatever, interoperability, in case something is damaged, it is easy to repair)," he added. (PNA)