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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Philippines' newest, largest ship to lead naval blockade of Abu Sayyaf's escape

The Philippine Navy has deployed its newest and largest vessel, the BRP Tarlac, to lead the naval blockade against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in its reported plan to escape via the Sulu Sea.

A report of Jun Veneracion on "Unang Balita" on Thursday said the BRP Tarlac will serve as the command and control ship of the Navy in its operations against the bandits.

The report said the Navy has yet to encounter any ASG insurgents in the area but is preparing for any eventuality in case the group receives reinforcements from nearby Basilan province.

commanders will direct the operations of smaller ships 24/7 from BRP Tarlac.

The Navy also said it will pursue any suspicious sea vessel to check its passenger and cargo manifest. It can also capture any suspicious vessel without the necessary documents.

Equipped with the latest technology, BRP Tarlac also has an AugustaWestland 109 helicopter with combat support and aerial surveillance capabilities for both day or night flying missions.

BRP Tarlac, which the Philippine Navy welcomed in May this year, has modern navigation and surface search radar, air search radar, an electronic warfare system, electro-optical fire control system and combat management system.

The ship has an enclosed hangar for a 10-ton helicopter and its flight deck can carry two 10-ton helicopters.

The BRP Tarlac is part of a P3.87-billion, two-vessel contract between the Philippine government and an Indonesian shipbuilder PT PAL Persero.  — Joseph Tristan Roxas/VVP, GMA News

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