May 16, 2022
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) commissioned the Philippines' first 97-meter multi-role response vessel (MRRV), the largest one ever for PCG, on May 6th, 2022, as an addition to the country's maritime capability with the cooperation of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The first 97-m MRRV took less than two (2) years to build even under the pandemic, and was modeled after the Kunisaki (formerly Kunigami) Class Patrol Vessel of the Japan Coast Guard. The vessel applied Japanese technology to achieve speed, stability, and sea-worthiness during various operations. Its design also allows it to operate in rough seas and undertake at least 15 days of voyage at sea.
The MRRV, which arrived in Manila on February 28 this year, has been named "Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Teresa Magbanua", in reference to a Filipino teacher and heroine during the Philippine Revolution against Spain and the US.
The ceremony was commemorated with the unveiling of the ship's name and breaking of the wine bottle, which is traditionally done to bring good fortune and safe voyage for the vessel and its crew.
The MRRV is a component of an ongoing cooperation project between JICA and the Department of Transportation (DOTr), namely "Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project" Phase II for the PCG, that aims to beef up the coast guard's capability in responding to maritime incidents in the Philippines waters, as well as in search and rescue, maritime environment protection, and other maritime operations. JICA has also been contributing to the enhancement of capacity of PCG's human resource through the technical cooperation such as dispatch of Experts and implementation of trainings in Japan over the years.
"JICA congratulates on the commissioning of the newest and biggest MRRV of PCG, which also signifies the long-standing trusted relationship and friendship between JICA and the Philippines. While the Philippines has maintained a strong foundation for economic growth and recovery under current circumstances, JICA recognizes that the two (2) countries can jointly tackle various development needs, including maritime safety and security. And we're optimistic that our long-standing strategic partnership will continue to grow and prosper as we work closely more than ever," said JICA Philippines Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema.
The maritime sector plays a crucial role in the Philippine economy, too, with sea transport playing a crucial role in inter-island connectivity and linking the country's trade with neighboring countries. Thus, the first 97-m MRRV can also help boost jobs and trade amid and even after the pandemic.
The new MRRV is part of JICA's continuing assistance to Philippine maritime safety and security in addition to training Filipino coast guard personnel since the 1970s. In 2018, JICA also completed its assistance to the Philippines with the delivery of 10 MRRVs amounting to JPY13.752 billion for maritime safety and security.
Left-right: Ship's Sponsor, CG VADM Eduardo D Fabricante, Commandant, PCG ADM Artemio M Abu, Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines KAZUHIKO Koshikawa, and JICA Philippines Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema.