When the tension on the West Philippine Sea (formerly South China Sea) escalated brought by the territorial dispute on the Spratlys, our government sent the largest warship of the Philippine Navy – the BRP Raja Humabon.
But being built on 1943, Raja Humabon is older than our parents (or maybe our grandparents) and her equipment are as old as the second world war.
Worry no more fellas. In the next couple of days, our biggest and latest warship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (formerly USCGC Hamilton) will arrive in our shores from the United States. Our government has purchased it from the United States for the price of 450 million pesos under the Excess Defense Article Program (EDA) paying the money from the Philippine Malampaya Project.
But on the downside, though not as old as the Raja Humabon, Gregorio del Pilar is also old being built on 1965. Moreso, it was originally designed to carry a 20 mm Phalanx CIWS (Close In Weapons System) designed to shoot down anti-ship missiles and fixed-wing aircraft, but the weapons system was removed by the US and transferred to another US Coast Guard ship. Instead, the US installed additional radar and other electronic equipment as part of the transfer agreement with the Philippines.
But that’s not just our weakness (or handicap) when it comes to naval battle on the West Philippine Sea. Sleeping giant China’s aircraft carrier, the Shi Lang, is much bigger and more powerful than our own Gregorio del Pilar.
And the photo above is more than enough proof for you to spot the difference.
This is a modern battle between David and Goliath.
Do we really have a chance against these sleeping giant and chinky-eyed neighbors of ours? Maybe no. In terms of military size and equipment, we are far far behind China.
But how about our ever-loyal friend Uncle Sam? Will he still help us? Please remember that they were always there for us during our troubled times. But will he still help us amidst their failing economy and increasing debt? I will not be surprised if, one day, Uncle Sam will no longer be the world’s super power.
Who will save us? Who will help us? Our Filipino-Chinese countrymen? Henry Sy or Lucio Tan perhaps?
I personally do not know a solution and I am no expert to discuss foreign relations, policies, and diplomacy. But I can do something, I shall pray for peace and hope that vigilance and peaceful agreement prevail over tension and military and naval showdown. And I would start to be more makabayan amidst this tension-filled time for our country. Would you?
World peace, mga pare. Padayon!