November 9, 2018
The Philippine Coast Guard's (PCG) Filipino scholar at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Japan cited role of coast guard diplomacy in boosting Philippine maritime safety and security.
PCG Lieutenant Commander Jay Tristan Tarriela conveyed this at a lecture on "Coast Guards in Asia" at the Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) recently. Tarriela is currently a post-graduate scholar on Global Governance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Knowledge Co-Creation Program (KCCP) Long-Term Scholarship. "Japan plays a key role in promoting coast guard diplomacy in Southeast Asia. In fact, Japan's assistance through JICA's cooperation with the Philippines to professionalize PCG personnel is important for our country since we are an archipelagic and maritime nation. More than 90% of our domestic trade passes through the seas, and ensuring safety of those sea lanes is vital to the Philippine economy," said Tarriela.
Tarriela argued that although coast guard is emerging in Southeast Asia because of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the non-traditional security threats, it is essential to emphasize the significance of Japan in supporting the development of ‘white hulls' or coast guards in the region.
Coast guard diplomacy, according to Tarriela, is developing in Southeast Asia because of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), claims on the South China Sea, non-traditional security threats, piracy, and terrorism.
Under the JICA KCCP, PCG personnel like Tarriela undertakes graduate training on related courses on emerging global and regional concerns, and also contribute to Philippine development after the scholarship.
"JICA and the PCG want me to go back to the Philippines as part of a human resource development (HRD) initiative towards possible creation of the Philippine Coast Guard Academy," Tarriela added. "The JICA scholarship can help the PCG build the Academy's faculty system. The Academy, when established, will help professionalize PCG officers when it comes to fulfilling its core functions in maritime safety, marine environmental protection, maritime security and maritime law enforcement."
Since 1976, JICA has been providing trainings and scholarship programs to professionalize the PCG, and establishing the academy will help institutionalize said assistance.
Over the past years, the Japanese government, through JICA, is pushing for maritime cooperation in Southeast Asia to promote maritime safety and boost regional trade. "The maritime diplomacy of Japan has shifted from gunboat diplomacy before the war to coast guard diplomacy. When we speak of coast guard diplomacy it's not just related to maritime security but it covers functions from maritime safety to environmental protection to law enforcement and maritime security," added Tarriela.
Tarriela also cited Japan's role in establishing coast guard in nations like Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, including Japan's assistance in the region through maritime safety and security programs, provision of equipment and patrol vessels, and meetings and conferences on coast guard systems.
In the Philippines, JICA has been assisting the PCG through a Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project to improve the country's response capacity to coastal maritime incidents and search and rescue, and improve the PCG capability on maritime law enforcement. JICA also provided the PCG with 18.732 billion yen Official Development Assistance (ODA) for ten multi-role response vessels, training of over 200 PCG personnel on maritime law enforcement, maritime security and safety, search and rescue, and environment protection, and recently a 16.455 billion yen ODA for two 90-meter class MRRVs.
LtCdr Jay Tristan Tarriela giving a lecture on coast guards in Asia
Meeting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe