The Philippine Navy is preparing to send one Del Pilar-Class offshore patrol vessel and one Tarlac-class landing dock ship to the Middle East with a small contingent of servicemen, National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement.
“During the last meeting of the Committee on Repatriation that I presided over as the chairman last Thursday (shortly before Secretary Roy Cimatu flew to Qatar) the DFA, Sec. Cimatu and the DOLE commented that it may not be wise to send uniformed servicemen to the Middle East due to the sensitivities of the countries there,” Secretary Lorenzana said.
“Hence, it was agreed that we recommend the sending of a small contingent of servicemen instead of two battalions but they will be in civilian attire and will not be armed should they be needed on the ground,” he added.
“Also, two battalions would be a lot and they would be taking much of the spaces on the ship, leaving very little or nothing for the repatriates,” Secretary Lorenzana noted.
He added that President Rodrigo Duterte was apprised of these developments during our meeting last Thursday and he approved the concept.
“The Philippine Navy is preparing one Del Pilar class frigate and one Tarlac class landing dock ship to sail for the Middle East,” Lorenzana said.