New gunboats a big boost to RP's maritime security, says PNP-Maritime Group

August 17, 2010 9:58 am 

MANILA, Aug. 17 — The Philippine National Police-Maritime Group (PNP-Maritime) has welcomed the turn over of four new patrol gun boats from the United States government to the command as a big boost to the country’s maritime security.

PNP-Maritime Group director Chief Supt. Francisco Don Montenegro noted that the four Police Patrol Boats (PPB) will be the first patrol vessels to be detailed to the Maritime Group.

He said Maritime Group personnel are now undergoing training to handle the new acquisitions.

”Our personnel are presently undergoing training for boat handling,” said Montenegro.

Aside from the PNP-Maritime, the elite Special Action Force (SAF) is the other specialized PNP unit which has gunboats. The SAF is operating five patrol vessels.

Montenegro said two more gunboats from the US are scheduled to arrive this year to further improve the PNP-Maritime’s capability.

The PNP-Maritime chief said the four newly-acquired patrol gunboats will be deployed initially to PNP’s Special Boat Unit in Balabac Island.

Montenegro, however, noted that the ideal number of gunboats is two for each of the 16 Maritime offices throughout the country.

PNP spokesman Sr. Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said each boat is worth P18 million.

No less than PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa on Monday formally received from US Ambassador Harry Thomas four 31-footer rigid-hull bouyant boats in formal turnover ceremonies in Puerto Princesa City.

The PNP's acquisition of the four PPBs is part of the technical assistance package provided by the US government to the PNP through the US International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP).

The PPBs, manufactured by NAIAD of Rhode Island, USA is powered by twin 250HP engines that can reach speeds up to 51 knots, and is fully equipped with navigation, communication and weapons systems.

The ICITAP has provided the technical assistance and logistics for establishment of the Special Boat Unit (SBU) of the PNP Maritime Group stationed in Puerto Princesa City.

Last year, the PNP inaugurated the headquarters and boathouse of the SBU in Palawan, constructed in a 2,000-square-meter lot donated by the city government of Puerto Princesa City and funded by an ICITAP grant. (PNA)

LDV/MM

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