- Published on Monday, 07 January 2013 00:00
- Written by VICTOR REYES
By A Web design Company
FIVE countries are trying to compete with Italy for the supply of two frigates to the Armed Forces.
Defense undersecretary for finance, munitions, installations and materiel Fernando Manalo said the US, South Korea, Israel, Croatia and Australia made offers towards the end of last year.
In August last year, the defense department said it was acquiring from Italy two Maestrale class frigates which have anti-air and anti-submarine capability. The second hand warships will cost some P11.7 billion.
The Maestrale class frigates were built for the Italian Navy by the Italian company Fincantieri. The Italian Navy has a fleet of eight but these are set to be replaced this year.
“We are evaluating the Maestrale and doing due diligence whether Maestrale will really provide us what we really need, whether Maestrale is still economical on a long term (basis),” said Manalo.
He also said some of the frigates offered by the five countries are brand new.
Based on initial study, Manalo said the Maestrale class frigates can provide “the capability that we need in the West Philippine Sea.”
West Philippine Sea, or the part of the South China Sea that is near the Philippines, hosts the Spratly Islands, a chain of islands and islets believed to be rich in oil and mineral deposits that are being claimed by the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.
“We are still in the process of developing a matrix that will compare the Maestrales with the different proposals and from the different frigates that are being offered by other countries,” said Manalo.
“It’s a process of doing due diligence so that we’ll not commit a mistake. This does not involve only one million or a hundred million but billions of pesos. We cannot afford to make a mistake,” he said.