April 30, 2014
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is extending a Y1.152B grant aid to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to help boost the country's maritime safety.
The Japanese aid will cover the installation of transportable satellite-based communication systems, and a Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS) to also manage vessel movement and improve traffic controls in the Cebu port.
"We are further assisting the Philippines in catalyzing socio-economic development by upgrading its maritime communication system. We hope that this assistance will improve safety and efficiency in vessel traffic management, reduce maritime accidents, and enhance coordination during natural disasters," said new JICA Philippines Chief Representative Noriaki Niwa.
In the past, maritime accidents in the country have been due to increase in passenger and freight transport volumes, improper operations and natural disasters.
Consequently, maritime crime has also risen as passengers increase, making maritime security efforts focus on smuggling and illegal fishing, among others.
JICA's Grant Aid scheme refers to the financial assistance extended by Japan to developing countries with no obligation for repayment. It covers wide range of cooperation such as socio economic infrastructure, education, health, and environment among others.
Aside from the grant, JICA earlier extended a Y18.732 billion loan to the Philippine government to help enhance the capabilities of the PCG through the construction of 10 40-meter multirole response vessels (MRRVs) that is set to augment the PCG fleet.
Said MRRVs were also expected to contribute to maritime safety, maritime law enforcement, monitoring, and pollution control and disaster response, among others.
JICA has also provided vessels, rescue equipment, training facilities, communication systems and maritime safety equipment to the PCG. It has also deployed experts from the Japan Coast Guard as part of its technical cooperation assistance to the PCG for Maritime Law Enforcement, Maritime Pollution Control, and disaster response.