Philippine Coast Guard

Philippine Coast Guard to get 5 more 97-meter vessels from Japan

Bea Cupin

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Philippine Coast Guard to get 5 more 97-meter vessels from Japan

SIGNING. The Philippines and Japan sign and exchange notes on Phase III of a marine safety capability improvement project that would equip the Philippine Coast Guard with five new vessels.

Royce Pantua/DFA-OPD

The acquisition of the vessels and the development of support facilities is valued at over 64.38 billion yen (around P23.85 billion)

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is set to acquire five more 97-meter patrol vessels for Phase III of a decade-old marine safety capability improvement project funded by Japan.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo and Japanese Ambassador Endo Kazuya led on Friday, May 17, the signing and exchange of diplomatic notes for the project.

The acquisition of the five vessels and the development of support facilities is valued at over 64.38 billion yen (around P23.85 billion), according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). 

The 97-meter multi-role response vessels (MRRVs) will be among the largest and most modern in the PCG’s fleet. Currently, two are in operation – the lead of its class, the BRP Teresa Magbanua, and the BRP Melchora Aquino. 

Practically all of the PCG’s newest ships are Japan-made and funded through loans from the Philippines’ strategic partner. Its 10 44-meter MRRVs were delivered between 2016 and 2018, and the first two 97-meter vessels were delivered in 2022.

The 44-meter ships, named after lighthouses in the Philippines, were made by Japan Marine United, while the 97-meter vessels were made by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding. 

“This occasion signifies not only the deepening of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Japan but also underscores our unwavering commitment to enhance our maritime safety capabilities for the benefit of our nation and the broader maritime community,” said Manalo during Friday’s event. 

“The additional grant is expected to contribute to improving maritime safety in the Philippines by improving the capacity of the Philippine Coast Guard to efficiently conduct maritime rescue, law enforcement, and other operations,” said the Japanese embassy in Manila in a release.

The loan for Phase III of the project is payable over 40 years, with a 10-year grace period and an interest rate of 0.3% yearly and 0.2% for consulting services.

The PCG’s Japan-made vessels are crucial in its patrols not just in the tension-rife West Philippine Sea, but across the country’s waters. The PCG conducts regular maritime patrols, as well as resupply missions to outposts in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, among others.

According to the DFA, Japan is the Philippines’ top bilateral official development assistance partner “with its long history of support for Philippine development priorities spanning infrastructure, health, human resources, agriculture, education, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.” –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.