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Philippines to buy two new South Korean warships for USD556M

MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines has ordered two new warships from South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Tuesday, modernising Manila’s navy.

The Philippine Navy had become run down in recent decades – even featuring United States (US) craft from World War II – until Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino, began a modest modernisation programme in 2010. Tuesday’s PHP28 billion (USD556 million) deal with the South Korean shipbuilding giant comes five years after the firm also won a contract to build two new frigates for the Philippine Navy.

Corvettes and frigates are small, fast warships mainly used to protect other vessels from attack.

“This project will give the Philippine Navy two modern corvettes that are capable of anti-ship, anti-submarine and anti-air warfare missions,” Lorenzana said in a speech at the signing ceremony in Manila.

The deal “will ensure commonality and interoperability with our existing assets”, he added, as well as “ease of maintenance and repairs”.

Manila has since acquired two former US Coast Guard cutters and three landing craft from Australia, as well as coast guard patrol vessels from Japan, in an effort to bolster its presence in the South China Sea.

Relatives of Philippine Navy sailors waving their national flags as the navy’s newly-acquired vessel, the Pohang-class corvette BRP Conrado Yap (PS39), docks at the international port in Manila. PHOTO: AFP