BRP Ivatan (AT-298) and BRP Batak (AT-299) are now in the Philippines. The two vessels went directly to Zamboanga City, according to a DZMM radio report. These Landing Craft Heavy (LCH) vessels were donated by the Australian government to Philippines for the Philippine Navy.
Prior to leaving Australia, July 23, BRPs Ivatan and Batak were commissioned to Philippine Navy service.
“The two LCHs will certainly boost the capability of the PN to transport personnel, equipment and aid during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations,” PN Chief Vice Admiral Jesus Millan said.
President Benigno Aquino III said in his SONA that the government will procure remaining Australian LCH recently decommissioned. “We plan on buying three more, once all the paperwork has been put in order, the processes to procure them will begin,” he said.
“These vessels will reduce our dependence on the kindness of other nations; we will be able to accelerate delivery to different parts of the Philippines, and more promptly send aid, supplies, and other heavy equipment such as bulldozers, which are needed for clearing and relief operations,” President Aquino said.