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Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commandant, CG Admiral Artemio M Abu, welcomed Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) President, Dr. Tanaka Akihiko, in Port Area, Manila today, 20 January 2023.

Delegates from JICA Philippines and Japan Embassy accompanied Dr. Akihiko.

After the short meeting, the officials discussed the bridge management system aboard one of the largest and most state-of-the-art JICA-granted projects to the PCG — the BRP Melchora Aquino (MRRV-9702).

PCG and Japan Coast Guard (JCG) personnel also showcased an arresting technique demonstration on board.

According to CG Admiral Abu, the Philippines-Japan relationship is one of the longest-standing diplomatic relations that have grown through decades of solidarity, mutual respect, and understanding through fruitful engagement and closed cooperation.

The Coast Guard Commandant recognized that JICA has long been assisting PCG projects on vessel acquisition, maritime domain awareness, capability programs, human resource development, and various collaborative support.

Among the Japan-assisted projects were the delivery of ten units of 44-meter MRRVs under the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project (MSCIP) Phase I and the acquisition of two 97-meter MRRVs, under the MSCIP Phase II funded by the Official Development Assistance Loan through JICA.

These vessels are utilized as the PCG's primary rescue vessels and support the implementation of the Coast Guard's mandated functions nationwide.

Under the Japan grant aid, the floating pontoon project in 30 priority sites across the country was also granted to provide berthing requirements, support of the maintenance, and rapid deployment of the PCG's anti-terrorism fast boats and other small water crafts. 

The Japanese government also donated 11 radar systems to enhance maritime security monitoring of coastal waters in Visayas and Mindanao.

To date, there are six fully operational radar equipment in San Ramon, Rio Hondo, Olutanga, Tabina, and two in Sibutu, Tawi-Tawi.

Additional equipment in Siargao and Tag-ulo will be fully operational by the end of January 2023, followed by installations in Bongao, Sulu, and Pangutaran, General Santos City.

Through JICA and JCG's assistance, the PCG received training programs from 2015 to 2021, and post-graduate programs at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, a graduate institution in Tokyo, Japan.

On 12 January 2017, the PCG and the JCG inked a Memorandum of Cooperation to strengthen their collaboration, particularly through the conduct of simulated seaborne exercises in combating piracy and armed robbery at sea, drug interdiction, rescue, and medical response to support PCG’s human resource development and boost the country's maritime safety and security.

Moreover, the PCG receives various capacity-building programs to enhance its capability in vessel operation, maintenance planning, maritime law enforcement, and practical training, in collaboration with the Mobile Training Team of the JCG and U.S. Coast Guard.

Meanwhile, the PCG and JICA are also continuously working on ongoing projects such as the:

1) proposed acquisition of additional 97-meter MRRVs,

2) proposed PCG facility at Subic Bay,

3) utilization of the remaining loan balance of the MSCIP Phase 1,

4) additional high-speed boats,

5) acquisition of a portable electric generator for shore power supply through grant aid,

6) Satellite Data Communication System Project, and

7) Japan's Technical Cooperation Project through capacity building program for subject matter experts.

CG Admiral Abu extended his appreciation for the fruitful cooperation of both countries with common goals of promoting economic growth of the region, ensuring peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific Region, and addressing international challenges.