Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, Lt. General Bartolome Vicente Bacarro witnessed the event as the keynote speaker along with his wife Soledad as lady sponsor who initiated the traditional breaking of a sacrificial bottle of wine on the FAIC-Ms. He was joined by Navy Flag Officer In Command, Vice Admiral Adeluis Bordado, other AFP senior officials, and relatives of the vessels’ namesakes.

Lt. General Bacarro lauded this milestone in the AFP modernisation program that “shall strengthen our naval capability on littoral defence and maritime interdiction operations, and likewise decisively forward our self-reliant defence posture program to make our armed forces at par with nations in the region.”

“These patrol boats shall significantly enhance our external and internal defence operations in terms of securing our borders against foreign intrusions, and in providing naval warfare support to our ground troops during the conduct of joint operations.”

The first two vessels of the Acero-class Patrol Gunboat are named after both Philippine Marine Corps heroes and Medal for Valor recipients, the late Private First Class Nestor F. Acero, and the late First Lieutenant Lolinato G. To-ong.

Soon to be commissioned BRP Nestor Acero (PG901) and BRP Lolinato To-ong (PG902) are part of the nine Shaldag Mk V contracted with the Israel Shipyards Ltd with an approved budget of 10 billion pesos inclusive of missile and weapon systems. Three more are slated to be delivered

beginning this year while the remaining four units will be constructed at the PN shipyard in Naval Station Pascual Ledesma, Cavite City.

These 32-meter, high-speed vessels are equipped with quick intercept ability, remote stabilized weapons, and short-range missiles that are capable to deliver precision strikes against larger hostiles and high-value targets on land or sea.

Citing the Philippines’ geographic configuration “characterized by its proximity to major regional sea lanes and contested waters and its complex archipelagic and porous nature’, Vice Admiral Bordado emphasized that “[t]hese new FAIC-M vessels are designed to enhance the Navy’s capability in addressing threats within our unique archipelagic composition, at the same time, protect our maritime interests in a rapid and precise manner”.

The acquisition of these vessels is a giant leap forward in the Navy’s continuing capability upgrade in order to achieve a minimum credible defence posture and to assert more efficiency in the conduct of its mandated task.

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