The Philippine government has signed an agreement with Japan for the purchase of two new modern vessels worth P6.7 billion to be used by the Philippine Coast Guard aimed at improving its capability and efficiently enforce maritime-related operations.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. president and CEO Koji Okura led the signing of the contract for the supply and delivery of two Multi-Role Response Vessels.
The acquisition of the vessels―measuring 94 meters with a maximum speed of not less than 24 knots and an endurance of not less than 4,000 nautical miles―is in line with the government’s Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project, Phase II.
“The Philippine Coast Guard is boosting its maritime capability by acquiring Rapid Response Vessels which will be its largest floating assets yet. The vessels will employ Japanese technology to withstand rough sea conditions suitable for upholding maritime security, search and rescue, marine environment protection, and maritime safety,” said Coast Guard spokesperson Armand Balilo.
Balilo said the vessels are expected to be delivered in June 2022.
The contract signing was witnessed by Transportation Undersecretary for Finance Garry de Guzman, Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Reinier Paul Yebra, Coast Guard commandant Admiral Joel Garcia, and Assistant Secretary for Maritime Lino Dabi.
From the private sector, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. Business Department general manager Kenichiro Mase and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Asia-Pacific Pte. Ltd. Manila Representative Office Chief Representative Kazunori Yokome witnessed the ceremony.
Tugade said that the purchase is a breakthrough in the government’s thrust of modernizing and upgrading the country’s maritime protection and border patrol.
“The modernization of Philippine Coast Guard has been going fast and quick and very meaningful. In fact, in this effort to make it quick, fast, and very meaningful, the government of Japan has contributed very much. And to which I express my appreciation for your continued support,” he said.
Admiral Garcia, for his part, said the signing ceremony is a landmark achievement, not just for the department and agency, but also for the whole country as the Coast Guard will now have its first-ever biggest patrol ships.
“We are making a milestone, not just for the Department of Transportation and Philippine Coast Guard, but also for the Philippines—acquiring the first-ever biggest ship for the Coast Guard. It is a 94-meter multi-role response vessel. It is a big stride to the development of this country in the context of maritime security and maritime safety,” Garcia said.
President Koji Okura, on the other hand, expressed his desire to continuously work and cooperate with the government in delivering various projects, programs, and initiatives as he noted, “We look forward to work with you all, in this important project and we sincerely appreciate your continuous cooperation to make this project successful.”
JICA Chief Representative Yoshio Wada underscored the significance of the partnership between Japan and the Philippines in boosting economic trade, most especially in the maritime sector.
“Through time, JICA partnering with PCG is a testament to the strong friendship between our two nations: Japan and the Philippines – both maritime nations where seaborne trade plays a crucial role in our economic growth.” Representative Yoshio Wada said.