Obama: U.S. to transfer two vessels to Philippine Navy

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U.S. President Barack Obama visited Philippine Navy's BRP Gregorio del Pilar after his arrival in Manila on Tuesday (November 17).

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — After his visit to BRP Gregorio Del Pilar on Tuesday afternoon (November 17), United States President Barack Obama said the American government planned to transfer two more vessels to the Philippine Navy.

One would be a Hamilton-class cutter, similar to BRP Gregorio del Pilar, and a research vessel which Obama said can be used to patrol Philippine territorial waters.

Obama said this would be part of the United States' plan to increase maritime security assistance to its allies in the Asia-Pacific Region.

He said more capable navies and partnership with the U.S. were critical for the security of the region.

The U.S. has recently sent a warship near China's artificial islands in the South China Sea — and vowed to patrol in the disputed territories more often to ensure freedom of navigation in the area.

Related: S. China Sea rows increase demand for U.S. presence - Ash Carter

Obama added that his visit to the Philippine Navy vessel underscored their ironclad commitment to the defense of the Philippines.

Related: Obama: Beijing should not 'elbow' its way in South China Sea

Philippine Navy Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Leopoldo Alano thanked Obama for his commitment, saying it would boost the capabilities of the Navy in patrolling the country's territories.

Alano said Obama also had some discussions with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Armed Forces Chief General Hernando Iriberri while aboard BRP Gregorio del Pilar.

Related: PH ready for eventualities in disputed sea - DND