US President Donald Trump told President Rodrigo Duterte that the next Hamilton-class frigate to be donated by the US government to the Philippines will be named after him. The statement was only revealed by Duterte to the Philippine Navy on Wednesday during a military briefing at Fort Bonifacio.
The United States government has already delivered two Hamilton-class frigates to the Philippines. The BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz, both operated by the Philippine Navy.
BRP stands for Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas, and President Duterte will be the first living person to have his name carried by a Philippine Navy ship.
Trump told Duterte that the next ship will be delivered around May next year.
The Hamilton-class cutter was the largest class of vessel in the United States Coast Guard until replaced by the National Security Cutter, aside from the Polar-class icebreakers. The hull classification symbol is prefixed WHEC.
The cutters are called the Hamilton class after their lead ship, or “Secretary class” because most of the vessels in the class were named for former Secretaries of the Treasury (with the exception of “Hero-class cutters” Jarvis, Munro and Midgett,).
Only the United States and the Philippines are currently operating the Hamilton-class, with 10 in US and two in the Philippines on active service.
Trump said the ship to be transferred to the Philippines is currently undergoing a major reconditioning and repair at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Florida.
He also said that the BRP Rodrigo Duterte will be the first PH Navy ship to be armed with missile system as its armament will not be removed unlike the first two ships which were stripped-off their sophisticated equipment.
“Ayaw ko sanang ipangalan sa akin yan pero wala akong magawa, yan ang gusto ni Trump alangan umayaw ako baka hindi pa ibigay sa atin”, Duterte said.