June 13, 2022
The commissioning of the second and final 97-meter multi-role response vessel (MRRVs) of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), supported by JICA, is seen as a boost of its capacity to respond to various maritime challenges in Philippine waters.
The new MRRV named Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Melchora Aquino is the second of the two MRRVs under JICA's Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan Project "Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the PCG Phase 2" implemented by Department of Transportation (DOTr).
The second of two of the PCG's largest vessels ever, BRP Melchora Aquino was commissioned on June 12, 2022 in celebration of the 124th Philippine Independence Day. The first vessel named Teresa Magbanua was commissioned in May this year.
"JICA vows to continue supporting the modernization and the capacity development efforts of the PCG for its effective operations in the Philippines' maritime sector. Just like the Japanese Coast Guard, we view the role of the PCG as crucial in upholding maritime safety and security as well as in the conservation of marine resources," said JICA Philippines Chief Representative SAKAMOTO Takema. "Since Japan is also a maritime nation like the Philippines, our support to PCG is very effective and also important in ensuring peace and stability in the region. In this context, for several decades, JICA has been proactively collaborating PCG through various cooperation instruments, such as provision of soft loan, dispatch of JICA experts, reception of trainees, and technical cooperation."
The new vessel was constructed in Japan with Japanese technology, which is capable of carrying out a 15-day mission and can sail through rough sea conditions. The delivery of the new MRRV, according to DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, will "significantly improve the PCG's response capabilities in maritime search and rescue, law enforcement, humanitarian assistance, disaster response operations." Tugade added that the vessel will also be invaluable in the Philippines' enforcement of marine environmental laws protecting the country's maritime resources.
JICA remains the Philippines' trusted partner in beefing up the PCG's capacity. Since the 1970s, more than 300 Filipino coast guards have trained in Japan. DOTr/PCG also acquired ten (10) 44-meter MRRVs from 2016 to 2018 through JICA's ODA Loan Project "Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the PCG". Said MRRVs have in fact completed over 1,300 missions so far including curbing further crimes during the Marawi siege in 2017, responding to COVID19 in 2020 and natural disaster such as Typhoon Odette in 2021. JICA also contributes to effective operation and appropriate maintenance of these 44-meter and 97-meter MRRVs through the ongoing Technical Cooperation Project.
Photos from the commissioning ceremony held June 12, 2022