TOP national and local government officials led by Navotas Mayor John Rey Tiangco and Rep. Toby Tiangco have witnessed recently the launching of the two new 50.5-meter steel-hulled Multi-Mission Offshore Vessels (MMOV) at a shipyard in the coastal city.

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, according to Rep. Tiangco during an interview at the launching held at the Josefa Slipways, Inc. shipyard in Barangay San Roque.

Aside from the Tiangco brothers, those who witnessed the launching of the two MMVOs were Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Director Eduardo Gongona and Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano.

In his speech, the city chief executive took pride in the workmanship of Navoteños and noted the growing industry of shipbuilding in the coastal city.

“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.

Mayor Tiangco added: “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 is at par with those made in other countries.”

Meanwhile, the mayor’s brother, Rep. Tiangco, welcomed the plan of the Duterte administration to build more ships to protect the Philippine waters.

The Navotas 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 endeavour to secure our seas and oceans, and we will do what we can to help protect our waters and fishing grounds,” he said.

Navotas has been considered as 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.

The maker of the vessels, Josefa Slipways, Inc. 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, according to the government officials. GOOD RIDDANCE/ARLIE CALALO

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