The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources launched two new 50.5-meter steel-hulled Multi-Mission Offshore Vessels at Josefa Slipways Inc. in B San Roque, Navotas City on Thursday.
The vessels will be used to protect the Philippine waters against illegal fishing and for other purposes such as seaborne research activities and disaster relief or rescue operations.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, BFAR Director Eduardo Gongona, Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco and Navotas Mayor John Rey Tiangco witnessed the ceremony.
In his speech, Mayor Tiangco took pride in the workmanship of Navoteños and noted the growing industry of shipbuilding in Navotas.
“These vessels are the fruit of the ingenuity, resourcefulness and skills of Navoteños. Our people are indeed the strength and treasures of our city,” he said.
“I have been to various shipbuilding and ship-repair conventions here and abroad when I was still head of the Metro Manila Shipyard Association. I am proud to say that the quality of the two new MMOVs are at par with those made in other countries,” he added.
Meanwhile, Rep. Tiangco welcomed the plan of the Duterte administration to build more ships to protect the Philippine waters.
The lawmaker noted that a large number of Navoteños will benefit if the national government’s plan to have more locally-built MMOVs will push through.
“We fully support the endeavor to secure our seas and oceans, and we will do what we can to help protect our waters and fishing grounds,” he said.
Navotas is considered the fishing capital of the country. It also serves as home to 29 companies that facilitate shipbuilding and ship-repair, and offer shipyard and dry-docking services.
Josefa Slipways started the construction of the BFAR vessels, now named MMOV Lapu-lapu and MMOV Francisco Dagohoy, in January 2016.
Both vessels are set to be commissioned in October and will have their symbolic voyage in West Philippine Sea, Philippine Rise and Sulu Sea.