PHL Defense Secretary keen on offshore patrol vessels deal with Aussie firm

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Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana. (File photo)

MANILA — Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday reiterated his interest to enter into an agreement with Australia-based global shipbuilder and defense contractor, Austal, regarding the proposed offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) of the Philippine Navy (PN).

He said he is keen to develop an agreement with the company, which has a local subsidiary, Austal Philippines, operating in Balamban, Cebu.

“As far as I’m concerned, I like it because it (could) be built in the Philippines using Filipino laborers,” said the DND chief in an interview with GMA News Digital.

Also, Lorenzana said that the proposed deal will further develop the country’s relationship with Australia.

“It’s good to develop relationship with our neighbors. The Australians are willing to help us,” he added.

Lorenzana earlier raised Austal’s possible participation in the OPV project last year.

The DND chief also stressed that Austal Philippines has volunteered to build the proposed OPVs.

“They are volunteering to build our offshore patrol vessel. We’re looking into that,” he added.

Austal is offering a larger version of its 80-meter Cape-class patrol vessels being used by the Royal Australian Navy and Australian Border Force.

The OPVs are part of Horizon Two of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.

Around six units are to be procured for the Philippine Navy.

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