By Priam Nepomuceno

BOOSTING NAVAL STRENGTH. Philippine Navy (PN) chief Vice Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr. (center) graces the keel laying rites and steel cutting rites for the PN’s two missile corvettes at the HD Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea on Nov. 22, 2023. The DBM released the fourth milestone payment worth PHP6 billion for the project on April 3, 2024. (File photo courtesy of HD HHI)

MANILA – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released the fourth milestone payment, amounting to PHP6 billion, for the ongoing construction of two missile corvettes in South Korea’s HD Hyundai Heavy Industries (HD HHI).

This latest funding tranche, Special Allotment Release Order (SARO)-BMB-D-24-0001675 was released to the Department of National Defense (DND) on April 3 and intended for the funding of the “Corvette (Lot-1 Platforms with Launchers) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Navy under the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program,” according to the DBM’s list of released SAROs as of Friday.

The first three milestone payments for the projects worth PHP12.75 billion were released on Dec. 10, 2021 (PHP3.75 billion), May 20, 2022 (PHP3 billion), and May 24, 2023 (PHP6 billion).

The DND and HD HHI signed the PHP28 billion contract for two brand-new corvettes, which are capable of conducting anti-ship, anti-submarine, and anti-air warfare missions on Dec. 28, 2021.

Corvettes, which usually weigh 1,000 to 2,500 gross tons, are the smallest naval surface ships capable of dealing with submarines and other maritime threats. They are followed in size and weaponry by frigates and destroyers.

Corvettes can also perform anti-air, anti-surface, and anti-submarine warfare operations.

The first missile corvette is scheduled to be delivered to the Philippines in 2025 and the second, in 2026.

The two ships will serve as backstops for the frigates BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) and BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151). (PNA)