The proposed offshore patrol vessel (OPV) project, consisting of six ships worth PHP30 billion, will go through government-to-government procurement, National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza said Thursday.
“Yes, it will be on a G-2-G (Government-To-Government) mode of procurement,” Lorenzana said in a message to the Philippine News Agency when sought for updates on the project.
Government-to-government is an advantage as it does not require a large capital outlay, has sovereign guarantee, and the equipment would be acquired easier and faster.
When asked if Australian defense contractor and shipbuilder Austal will be awarded the contract for the OPV project before the end of the year, the DND chief said negotiations are still ongoing.
“We have not yet finali(z)ed the negotiation. Both sides are still discussing the details. No definite decision yet as of today (Thursday),” he added.
The OPVs are part of Horizon Two of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program and expected to replace the World War II corvettes and minesweepers still in PN service as of this time.
Six OPVs are expected to be acquired for the Navy once the contract is approved. Austal plans to build the ships in its Balamban, Cebu shipyard.
The company is offering a larger version of its 80-meter Cape-class patrol vessels used by the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Border Force.
Earlier, the DND chief said he might ask President Rodrigo Duterte to exempt the DND from the suspension of loans and grants from 18 countries that supported the Iceland-sponsored United Nations Human Rights Council resolution calling for an investigation on the Philippines’ illegal drugs campaign.
Of the 18 countries covered with the suspension of loans and grants memorandum issued by the Chief Executive through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea last August 27, the Philippines is known to source military equipment and items from Australia, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy.
Items acquired from these countries include the AW-109 combat utility and AW-159 anti-submarine helicopters from Great Britain and Italy, and the C-295 medium transports from Spain. PNA.GOV.PH