Philippine Navy Intensifies Naval Operations In Territorial Waters In Visayas
Philippine Navy patrol ship, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16) is currently at Central Command area of responsibility for the conduct of sovereignty patrol mission. She arrived in the Visayas Area of Responsibility (AOR) last February 02, 2021, to conduct maritime Territorial Defense Operations (TDO) in the Eastern Sea Area of the Visayas and various patrol missions in the Visayas Region.
The arrival of BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16) at Central Command AOR will boost the maritime patrol activity in the eastern seaboard thereby securing the gap of sea patrols in the eastern sea waters of Samar Island. Her presence will check and monitor the unauthorized entry of foreign vessels, protect the country’s sovereign territory and local fishermen in the said area.
BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16) is a High Endurance Cutter formerly commissioned as USCGC Dallas. She is one of the Gregorio del Pilar class offshore patrol vessels acquired by the Philippine government from the United States under the excess defense article transfer program. Named after Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, a Filipino Naval Officer known for receiving a Silver Star for heroism and gallantry during World War 2, it is armed with naval guns such as 76mm Mk 75 main gun, Mk 38 25mm Bushmaster Autocannons, and Heavy and Light Machine guns. It has a flight deck and hangar capable of handling AW-109 helicopters for shipboard deployment operations. BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16) is skippered by Navy Commander Lemar R Dela Calzada PN(GSC).
During her stay in the Visayas, the Naval Forces Central thru Naval Task Force 50 will spearhead the conduct of Field Training Exercises at the various maritime patrol areas and choke points in the Visayas. The mission of PS16 will fulfill the Territorial Defense Operations of Central Command by conducting sovereignty patrol in the eastern seaboard of the AOR particularly on the North and South Eastern sea area of Samar Island and Southern Leyte. This include a series of Field Training Exercises (FTX) at sea particularly in the Visayan Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) within the vicinity of Leyte Gulf, Southern Leyte, Surigao Strait, Cebu Strait, North and Western part of Panay Island.
Participating in the maritime security patrol and Maritime Surveillance Exercise (MARSURVEX) along with BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16) are the Naval Task Force 50 surface assets as follows: BRP Batak LC299; BRP Salvador Abcede (PC114), BRP Abraham Campo (PC396), BRP Enrique Jurado (PC371), 5th Patrol Boat Division (PB 356, PB 358 and PB 359).
Consequently, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16) will be visiting the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division (JTF STORM) and 3rd Infantry Division (JTF SPEAR) AOR’s, and for a scheduled courtesy call to the Commander, Naval Forces Central and to the Commander, Central Command LTGEN ROBERTO T ANCAN PA during her port visit at Malacañang sa Sugbo Wharf, Antonio Pigafetta St., Pier 1, Cebu City.
With the vision of the Philippine Navy to become a modern, multi-capable, naval force responsive to our maritime nation’s defense and development, Naval Forces Central will continue to strive in improving the unit’s capabilities to keep Visayan seawaters safe and secured environment. As always, it will vigorously continue to perform its role in safeguarding the seas as a dependable maritime force in the Visayas Region. NAVAL FORCES CENTRAL