Navy needs more technically-skilled people for new assets

MANILA — With more modern assets arriving, the Philippine Navy (PN) said it is now in need of highly-qualified computer experts and engineers to man these platforms.

Sa (In terms of) personnel, in my command guidance, ang sinabi ko is specialized tayo (what I said is we are specialized). Technical ang kailangan (We need technical people) so we want engineers, we want computer experts and we want people who can operate and maintain weapon system na first time lang tayo magkakaroon ng ganito katulad ng (which we acquired for the first time such as) surface-to-air missile, torpedoes,” Navy flag-officer-in-command, Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad, in a recent interview with the military-run DWDD.

The PN is expected to take delivery of its first modern frigate, which is capable of neutralizing air, surface and sub-surface threats by 2020, with the second being delivered by 2021.

However, the PN is expected to receive its first two anti-submarine helicopters, which are armed with torpedoes and missiles, by 2019.

Empedrad stressed that equipment modernization should be parallel with the upgrade of personnel and they will be tasked to man and operate it.

Dapat parallel ung preparation (The preparation must be parallel). What we have been doing in the past is kuha lang tayo ng kuha ngequipment and then sinisira din natin (we just acquire equipment and then we ruin it),” he added.

In line with this, the PN chief said that they need a lot of money now for base development to house these incoming assets.

“We need a lot of budget to fund our programs like base support development, one of our bases in Sangley (Cavite City), we need around PHP11 million for its renovation. These cost millions and we need storage for our missiles and torpedoes and the study that we made shows that developing these sites requires PHP7 billion. So we need a lot of funds to support the upgrade of our capabilities,” he added.

Some of the possible missiles and torpedoes sites for the PN includes Caballo Island near Corregidor in Manila Bay, Subic Bay in Zambales, and Cebu.