Saturday, April 4, 2009

Commemoration of the 50th Commissioning Anniversary of the Presidential Yacht and its Renaming to B.R.P. Pag-Asa (AT-25) by President Gloria Macapaga

Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas Ang Pangulo (BRP Ang Pangulo) celebrates its Golden Anniversary in the fleet of the Philippine Navy Friday, 1:30PM in her berthing place at Pier 13 in South Harbor, Manila. Vice Admiral Ferdinand Golez, the Flag Officer in Command, Philippine Navy leads the commemoration of BRP Ang Pangulo’s 50th Commissioning anniversary on 06 Mar 2009. Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will be the Guest of Honor. She will also lead the 23,000-strong Philippine Navy in the rites renaming the vessel from the present name BRP Ang Pangulo to BRP Pag-asa.

The vessel, which is an auxiliary transport of the Philippine Navy, was built in Japan as part of that country’s war reparations to the Philippines. At the initiative of President Carlos P. Garcia, the vessel was designed specifically for use as a presidential yacht by Filipino naval engineers, and was christened with its original name of R.P.S. Lapu-Lapu and commissioned into the Navy on March 7, 1959 as its flagship, a status it held until December, 1961.

President Diosdado Macapagal in the following year ordered it converted to a naval troop transport, renaming it R.P.S. Roxas after the fifth President of the Philippines in rites led by Mrs. Trinidad Roxas. President Macapagal instead used another, older, presidential yacht, the R.P.S. Santa Maria which he renamed R.P.S. Pag-asa, the name by which it had been known until the time of President Ramon Magsaysay until she was later decommissioned by the Philippine Navy in 1993.Meanwhile, R.P.S. Roxas was renamed R.P.S. The President when Ferdinand Marcos became president. He then renamed RPS The President to B.R.P. Ang Pangulo and restored its use as the presidential yacht, a status she has retained in all succeeding presidencies to the present day.

It is in honor of these earlier periods under Presidents Magsaysay and Macapagal, and to emphasize its service to the people throughout the archipelago, that the B.R.P. Ang Pangulo has been renamed B.R.P. Pag-Asa by President Arroyo. As it has throughout the Arroyo administration and over its 50 year life, the vessel, operated by Naval Taskforce “Sealion”, continues at the President’s instruction to carry out relief and medical missions all over the islands, aid in emergency search and rescue efforts, perform naval functions, promote tourism, culture and local products, as well as serve the presidency and the government.

The renaming of the vessel by the President is meant to reflect the hope it has often brought with it on its numerous missions around the country, particularly in times of calamity and natural disaster.

The following is the text of a historical marker to be unveiled by the President during the 50th anniversary ceremonies:
B.R.P. PAG-ASA (AT-25)


One of 15 ocean-going vessels provided by the Government of Japan as part of war reparations to the Republic of the Philippines during the administration of President Carlos P. Garcia, what was first called Bow No. 77 was designed as the Presidential Yacht by Filipino naval engineers and built at the Ishikawajima Dry-Docks in Tokyo.

Its keel was laid at the Harume Yard on July 16, 1958 and the vessel was launched on October 16 of that year. Sea trials were conducted under Lt. Cmdr. Manuel Mandapat PN, its first commanding officer, on February 9 and 10, 1959. It was designated the flagship of the Philippine Navy by President Garcia through Executive Order on February 13, 1959, and delivered to the Philippine Government on February 28. It was christened R.P.S. Lapu-Lapu (PY-77) and commissioned into the Philippine Navy on March 7. On April 2, the vessel arrived in Manila.

The first presidential engagement held aboard took place on April 7, 1959, and the ship’s first mission, a trade and cultural floating exposition with ports of call in Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, was carried out from April 19 to June 4, 1959. The vessel has since been extensively used for relief, emergency search and rescue, patrol, auxiliary transport and command vessel purposes in addition to performing its duties to the presidency and the government. Many distinguished persons, including General Douglas Macarthur on his sentimental journey in 1961, and numerous heads of state and government, have been aboard as official guests.

Flagship status was revoked by President Diosdado Macapagal on December 31, 1961, and the vessel was renamed R.P.S. Roxas (TP-71) on October 9, 1962, the first instance of a naval ship being named in honor of a Philippine president. It was renamed R.P.S. The President (TP-777) by President Ferdinand E. Marcos on January 11, 1967 and renamed anew as B.R.P. Ang Pangulo (TP-777) on July 1, 1971. Its hull number was altered to AT-25 by President Corazon C. Aquino on September 24, 1986. From 1998 to 2000, extensive refurbishment took place under President Joseph Ejercito Estrada.

On March 6, 2009, the eve of its 50th commissioning anniversary, the ship was renamed B.R.P. Pag-Asa (AT-25) by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in fitting ceremonies celebrating an outstanding legacy of service to the Republic.

The marker was provided by the Office of the President through the MalacaƱang Museum, in coordination with the National Historical Institute.

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