Philippines secures Japanese loan for maritime vessels

The government has approved the financing of ¥64.38 billion or P24.57 billion for the design, construction, and delivery of five units of 97-meter multi-role response vessels from Japan.

Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Ralph G. Recto and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Takema Sakamoto on Monday, June 11, signed Phase III of the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

The agreement carries an interest rate of 0.30 percent per annum for non-consulting services and 0.20 percent per annum for non-consulting services, to be repaid in 40 years, inclusive of a 10-year grace period.

It also includes a five-year Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) to ensure the sustainability and operation readiness of the MRRVs.

“They will not only help strengthen our national security but also complement our broader infrastructure modernization program to spur rapid inclusive growth,” Recto said.

There are currently 12 maritime vessels provided by JICA to the Philippines for the first and second phases of the project as well as various PCG assets and capacity building through pure grant financing.

The finance chief emphasized that the vessels will aid the PCG to protect maritime sovereignty and defend the rights of Filipino fisherfolks.

It will also enhance the PCG’s ability to prevent piracy, protect the environment, counter smuggling, and immediately respond to search and rescue operations, he added.

“In addition to the said hard component support, we have been supporting PCG continuously in terms of enhancing their knowledge and skills development through various technical cooperation programs such as long-standing dispatch of JICA experts, short-term trainings, and scholarship programs,” JICA Chief Representative Sakamoto said.

“Proudly, I would like to reiterate that the best mix of hard and soft support is one of the beauties of Japan's JICA's unique cooperation,” Sakamoto noted.

For Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Endo Kazuya, he affirmed that Japan will continue to support the PCG’s capacity development and hopes that it “will further deepen the friendship and cooperative ties that Japan and the Philippines have built through the years.”

Recto thanked the Japanese government for being a reliable ally in strengthening its maritime security as well as for its solidarity and relentless support for the Filipino people.

“Together, let us continue building ships that will strengthen our bonds and sail us faster and further towards a better future for the Filipino nation,” he said.

Present during the signing ceremony were DOF Undersecretary Joven Balbosa; Department of Transport Undersecretaries Elmer Sarmiento and Timothy John Batan; PCG Deputy Commandant Coast Guard Vice Admiral Allan Victor Dela Vega; National Economic and Development Authority Assistant Secretary Roderick Planta; DOF OIC-Assistant Secretary Donalyn Minimo; Department of Foreign Affairs Director Princess Tomas-Tayao; JICA Senior Representative Keisuke Fukui; and Embassy of Japan First Secretary Ide Masashi.