September 23, 2019
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) vowed to continue supporting maritime safety in the Philippines with a new technical cooperation with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) focusing on vessel operation and maintenance.
Said new project kicked off last week with the first Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) in Manila with officials from JICA Tokyo and Japan Coast Guard (JCG) discussing issues and plans for the project, a follow-up to the 3-year JICA and PCG project Comprehensive Practical Capability Improvement for Maritime Law Enforcement that ended early this year.
JICA said the new cooperation Enhancement of the Capability of the PCG on Vessel Operation, Maintenance Planning and Maritime Law Enforcement is "eyed to also boost the PCG's self-reliance in operating and maintaining vessels for their maritime patrol and maritime safety activities." JICA has provided 44-m Multi-Role Response Vessels (MRRVs) to PCG through its Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan.
"Japan and the Philippines are both maritime nations where maritime transportation is crucial to sustainable economic growth. Our cooperation with the PCG since the 1960s aims to share Japan's expertise in maritime safety to help the Philippines address rising maritime accidents and other security challenges," said JICA Philippines Senior Representative Kiyo Kawabuchi. As a maritime nation, the Philippines also depends on the sea for 90% of its passenger and cargo transport. Sea-born trade passing through Philippine waters can contribute positive impacts to the economy.
The new assistance, according to JICA, will also help the PCG operate their newly acquired vessels effectively and strategically. Two more new 94-meter vessels and an additional off-shore patrol vessel are expected to be given by Japan and France in the near future.
Currently, the PCG is spearheading maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea, Benham Rise, and maritime security in coastal communities to address smuggling, piracy, and drug trafficking.
Over time, JICA has supported building the capacity of the PCG through trainings and scholarship programs.