MANILA, Philippines – During President Rodrigo Duterte’s trip to Japan, the Philippine government secured a multi-billion-peso loan and multi-million-peso grant to beef up boats and equipment of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) agreed to loan the Philippines 16.5 billion yen (P6.8 billion, $158 million) for the acquisition of two 94-meter large-scale patrol vessels.
The concessional loan has an interest rate of between 0.01% and 0.10% with a maturity period of 40 years, inclusive of a 10-year grace period, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).
The signing of the loan agreement was witnessed by both Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, October 26. (READ: Duterte, Abe affirm defense cooperation, peaceful solution to sea row)
The loan for the two large ships is on top of Japan’s commitment to hand over 10 40-meter patrol vessels.
The first of these 10 ships was already turned over to the PCG last October 12. The second one will be handed over by December. The target date for the delivery of all 10 ships is August 2018, according to the DOF.
Grant for high-speed boats
Aside from the loan, Japan will also provide high-speed boats and other equipment for the PCG through a grant.
The grant is worth 600 million yen (P280 million, $5.7 million), according to the DOF.
The boats to be procured with the grant include one 20-meter high-speed vessel and 14 units of 11-meter high-speed boats.
Abe had earlier announced that these boats are intended to help the Philippines in its counter-terrorism and maritime security efforts.
Both the loan and grant are part of Tokyo’s Official Development Assistance to the Philippines. Japan is among the Southeast Asian country’s top sources of aid. – Rappler.com
$1 = P48.50 = JPY 104.42