By Roy Mabasa
Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda will lead today the commissioning of three brand new Multi-Role Response Vehicle (MRRV) aimed to improve the capability of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in addressing the country’s maritime concerns along its coasts.
The three MRRVs are part of the 10 units that the Philippines have acquired through an Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The commissioning will be held at the PCG headquarters in Port Area, Manila with Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade as one of the key attendees.
Also during the ceremony, the Japanese envoy will also lead the turnover of three Rigid High Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) to the PCG.
RHIB is a high-speed, high-buoyancy, extreme-weather craft which are similar to the ones being used by United States navies and sailors for search operations at sea.
On December 14, 2013, JICA signed ODA loan agreement with the Philippine government to provide loans of up to a total of JY18.732 billion (P8.5 billion) for “Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the PCG.
JICA said on its website that the project is geared to improve the capabilities of PCG to quickly respond to maritime incidents such as search and rescue, and maritime law enforcement by providing finance necessary to procure vessels for PCG, thereby contributing to maritime safety of the country.
Two years later, the then Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) awarded the project to Japan Marine United Corporation (JMU) for the construction of 10 40-footer speedboats to be delivered from 2016 to 2018.
Last week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cited the importance of the ongoing “collaboration” between Tokyo and Manila, particularly in the areas of maritime security, terrorism and the rule of law.
“We have agreed to deepen cooperation, specifically, in addition to supplying the Philipine Coast Guard with patrol and high-speed vessels which are already being implemented,” Abe told reporters right after attending the 31st ASEAN summit in Manila.
On top of the sea vessels, Abe said both countries have also decided on a Y1 billion (P450 million) grant to install coastal surveillance and radar facilities.
Tags: ASEAN Summit, Department of Transportation, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japanese envoy to lead commissioning of 3 new MRRVs, Manila Bulletin, maritime law enforcement, maritime security, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe