Philippines to get 2nd US coast guard ship

Manila, May 21 (Xinhua-ANI): The United States government is turning over the second Hamilton class cutter to the Philippine government on Wednesday, according to the Philippine government.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos confirmed on Monday that AFP chief Gen. Jessie Dellosa and Rear Adm. Jose Luis Alano, commander of the Navy's Philippine Fleet, have flown to the U.S. to receive the second Hamilton class cutter.

Burgos disclosed that after the turn over, the ship will undergo refurbishing in the U.S. while Navy personnel will undergo training to operate the vessel. The U.S. government, however, did not grant the request of the Philippine government to retain close- in weapon and radar systems in the second ship.

"We hope that the second cutter from the U.S. arrive before the year ends," said Burgos.

The Hamilton class cutter, formerly known as USS Dallas, will be named BRP Ramon Alcaraz.

The ship was acquired by the Philippines from the U.S. under Washington's Foreign Military Sales program for 400 million pesos (9.26 million U.S. dollars).

The second Hamilton class cutter is expected to bolster the Philippine Navy's capability in protecting the Philippines' maritime interest, particularly in the South China Sea. (Xinhua-ANI)