Press Release
May 8, 2023

Zubiri Leads Christening of New Navy Gunboats and Blessing of Shipbuilding Center

On Monday, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri was at the Naval Shipyard in Cavite City as the guest of honor of the Philippine Navy for the christening of two new patrol gunboats and the blessing of the newly upgraded Naval Shipbuilding Center.

Zubiri has been a vocal advocate of developing a credible defense posture for the country, particularly amidst tensions on Philippine waters.

"Despite the much more advanced technologies of some of the foreign actors—or sometimes I say, the bullies—aggressively circling our territory, the men and women of the Navy never back down from your sworn duty to protect the country and the Filipino people," he said.

"But I also know that with the proper equipment and technology, the Navy can and will serve the country even better. I have no doubt that with these two new patrol gunboats, the Navy will be able to beef up our border patrol and maritime defense, toward the ultimate goal of protecting our sovereignty."

The two new patrol gunboats, BRP Gener Tinangag (PG903) and BRP Domingo Deluana (PG905), are Fast Attack Interdiction Craft-Missiles (FAICs) originally developed for the Israeli navy. These two newest gunboats are part of a fleet of nine Shaldag MK V vessels commissioned from Israel Shipyards Ltd.

Named after late Cpl. Gener Tinangag and late Sgt. Domingo Deluana, who both died in the line of duty (in Marawi and Maguindanao, respectively), the two vessels are expected to join the Navy's Acero-class patrol gunboats.

Along with the christening of the vessels was the blessing of the newly upgraded Naval Shipbuilding Yard, a project also undertaken in partnership with Israel Shipyards Ltd.

"This is a giant step forward, as this will empower the Navy to be more self-sufficient in building and repairing its vessels, which will bring us closer to being on equal footing with the maritime technology of our neighboring countries," said Zubiri.

The Senate President also assured the Navy that they have the whole Senate's support.

"We still lack state-of-the-art maritime equipment and technology. Today the Navy makes up for that in heart, in smarts, and in courage, but that is not enough, kung di namin kayo bibigyan ng sapat na equipment."

Zubiri gave his commitment to pursuing Horizon II and Horizon III projects.

"All 24 senators are committed to providing additional help and equipment to the Navy, particularly for more ships, more planes—we're also looking at anti-submarine planes, larger base ships for the West Philippine Sea. We're also asking the Israeli Government to help us with armaments and missile systems—because what good is a brand new boat without armaments?"

Zubiri said that he will advocate for AFP and Navy modernization in his upcoming meeting with the Department of Budget and Management regarding the 2024 National Expenditure Program.

In support of the Navy's Self Reliant Defense Posture, Zubiri also made a commitment to pass the Philippine Defense Industry Development Act, to build our capacity to locally produce armaments and vessels for our Armed Forces.

Welcoming Zubiri at the event were officers of the Navy, led by Flag Officer in Command, Vice Admiral Toribio Adaci, as well as Rear Admiral Renato David and Rear Admiral Mac Raul Racacho. Israeli Ambassador Ilan Fluss and Israel Shipyards Chief Executive Officer Eitan Zucker also graced the event.

Zubiri's wife, Audrey Tan Zubiri, also led a ceremonial breaking of wine aboard the gunboat, alongside the Flag Officer in Command's wife, Mercy Khristin Adaci.

The families of the deceased officers Tinangag and Deluana were in attendance as well.

"I want to stress that today, the new ships are only secondary to me today," Zubiri said.

"Ang prayoridad ko ngayon at magbigay pugay sa pamilyang Tinangag at pamilyang Deluana, para sa pagbuwis nila Cpl. Tinangag and Sgt. Deluana ng buhay para sa bayan. Hindi po sila makakalimutan ng ating bansa at ng ating mga kababayan."

"With the new yard and the new patrol gunboats, I am hopeful that the Navy feels better equipped to be our vanguards of freedom, independence, and democracy, and to be protectors of our people."

News Latest News Feed