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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

PH, Japan sign P24.6-b loan agreement to fund acquisition of Coast Guard vessels

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The Philippine government signed a 64.38-billion-yen (about P24.57 billion) loan agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to finance the acquisition of new maritime vessels.

Finance Secretary Ralph Recto and JICA Chief Representative Takema Sakamoto signed the financing agreement for Phase III of the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on June 10, 2024.

It involves the design, construction and delivery of five units of 97-meter multi-role response vessels (MRRVs).

The loan carries an interest rate of 0.30 percent per annum for non-consulting services and 0.20 percent per annum for non-consulting services, to be repaid in 40 years, inclusive of a 10-year grace period.

It also includes a five-year Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) to ensure the sustainability and operation readiness of the MRRVs.

JICA has financed 12 MRRVs under favorable terms for the first and second phases of the project and various PCG assets and capacity building through pure grant financing.

Recto said the vessels would better equip the PCG to fulfill its mission of protecting the country’s maritime sovereignty and defending the rights of Filipino fisherfolks.

He said the vessels would significantly enhance the PCG’s ability to prevent piracy, protect the environment, counter smuggling, and immediately respond to search and rescue operations.

“In addition to the said hard component support, we have been supporting PCG continuously in terms of enhancing their knowledge and skills development through various technical cooperation programs such as long-standing dispatch of JICA experts, short-term trainings, and scholarship programs. Proudly, I would like to reiterate that the best mix of hard and soft support is one of the beauties of Japan’s JICA’s unique cooperation,” Sakamoto said.

“Going forward, Japan will steadily continue its support for the PCG’s capacity development. I sincerely hope that this project will further deepen the friendship and cooperative ties that Japan and the Philippines have built through the years,” Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Endo Kazuya said in his remarks.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista expressed his gratitude to the Department of Finance (DOF) for brokering and negotiating the favorable terms of the agreement with JICA.

Recto thanked the Government of Japan for being a reliable ally of the Philippines in strengthening its maritime security as well as for its solidarity and relentless support for the Filipino people.

“Together, let us continue building ships that will strengthen our bonds and sail us faster and further towards a better future for the Filipino nation,” he said.


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