Philippines, Japan Strengthen Maritime Security with New Patrol Vessel Agreement

MANILA/TOKYO – The governments of the Philippines and Japan have recently inked an agreement for the acquisition of five additional 97-meter class patrol vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

The Philippines’ procurement of multi-role response vessels (MRRVs) will be financed by a JPY64.38 billion official development assistance (ODA) loan from Japan, as part of the third phase of the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Program (MSCIP) for the PCG. This strategic initiative underscores the commitment of both nations to fortify maritime safety capabilities, with a specific focus on combating transnational crimes.

Following the signing of the exchanged of notes, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo expressed the Philippines’ gratitude to Japan for its steadfast commitment to the development of the Southeast Asian country.

“This occasion signifies not only the deepening of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Japan but also underscores our unwavering commitment to enhance our maritime safety capabilities for the benefit of our nation and the broader maritime community,” he remarked.

On the other hand, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuya Endo described it as “another milestone” in the coast guard cooperation between the two countries.

“Providing five new multi-role response vessels will greatly enhance the Philippine Coast Guard’s ability to perform critical maritime operations, ensuring safe and free seas for all,” he said.

Under previous agreements, Japan has already provided the Philippines with ten 44-meter class and two 97-meter class MRRVs under the MSCIP Phase I and II in 2013 and 2016, respectively. This latest agreement marks a continuation of Japan’s support for strengthening maritime security in the region amid growing tensions in the South China Sea. - Florenda Corpuz