The “BRP Ang Pangulo” a known presidential yacht will be on for sale soon, upon Mayor Rodrigo Duterte assumes office as the newly elected president of the Philippines.

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte announced on May 15, Sunday that he has planned to sell the ship.

Duterte said, the proceeds from the sale of the yacht will go to war veterans, improvement of hospital facilities, and salaries for doctors so they would not have to leave the country for higher-paying jobs.

Duterte made the announcement after meeting former police chiefs of Davao City Police Office at the Hotel Elena in Davao City on Sunday.

“BRP Ang Pangulo” (AT-25) is a presidential yacht and was acquired by the Philippine government in 1959.

It 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 RPS Lapu-Lapu, named after the Visayan Datu, Lapu-Lapu, and was commissioned into the Philippine Navy on March 7, 1959 as its flagship, a status it held until December 1961.

BRP Ang Pangulo image credit to Ray Smith

The yacht was first used by President Carlos P. Garcia for entertaining and over the years the yacht has known many famous guests including British ballerina Margot Fonteyn, actress Brooke Shields, dancer Rudolf Nureyev, concert pianist Van Cliburn and Cristina Ford, former wife of Henry Ford II, who was once chairman of Ford Motor Co.

In 1962, President Diosdado Macapagal ordered the ship’s conversion into a troop transport and renamed the ship after President Manuel Roxas. The re-christening ceremony was officiated by Trinidad Roxas, the late president’s widow.

The ship was again renamed during the Marcos administration as RPS The President. It saw the most number of engagements during this administration. Reportedly the site of many lavish parties of the Marcos family, it served as a venue for entertaining VIP guests.

When President Cory Aquino took over in 1986, she put up the BRP Ang Pangulo “for sale for US$5.5 million, but it was not sold.” She had “tried to do away with all the lavishness and extravagance” of the Marcos administration, noting that it was “costing the government P400,000 a month simply to maintain” the presidential yacht.

President Fidel V. Ramos, during his term, entertained former Chinese President Jiang Zemin on this yacht.

BRP Ang Pangulo

In 1998 when President Estrada assumed office , the BRP Ang Pangulo was “extensively furnished.” Malacanang said, “The ship served as a venue for presidential events and as a mobile office for the president,” such as during Estrada’s trips to Mindanao.

In 2006, the BRP Ang Pangulo caught fire while it was undergoing repairs. After refurbishing and repair, President Arroyo renamed the yacht BRP Pag-Asa.

On December 14, 2011, in order to continue the heritage and carry the honor and prestige of the Philippine presidency, President Benigno S. Aquino III return back its old name, the “BRP Ang Pangulo”, rechristened the presidential yacht together with the commissioning of 2 newly acquired navy ships and a helicopter. - Jason E.