The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has joined an interactive online lecture on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), with a focus on maritime security, organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Technical Cooperation Project and the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) on 01 June 2021.

The lecture was intended for PCG personnel to deepen their understanding of international law and improve their maritime security capability, particularly in the conduct of maritime security missions of frontline operational assets, such as the acquired multi-role response vessels (MRRVs), especially in its patrol in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

A total of 50 participants attended the lecture, including frontline officers engaged in maritime security, such as Commanding and Executive Officers of MRRVs and other patrol vessels, students of Senior Executive Course, and in-charge in maritime security functions.

Likewise, officers from the JCG, JICA Philippines Office, Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, U.S. Embassy in the Philippines, and ReCAAP-ISC also joined the event.

The lecture was addressed by Captain Kentaro Furuya, an adjunct professor of the Japan Coast Guard Academy and National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

Captain Furuya emphasized that in the absence of domestic legislation, Philippine authorities, in the conduct of maritime law enforcement operations in the EEZ, should have reference or be aligned with recognized international law.

“Maritime illegal activities and safety issues among coastal states were monitored. Considering the vital role in maritime trade the Philippines play in the Southeast Asian region, maintaining peace and stability is essential. This can be further achieved through awareness of the coastal states’ rights and duties over its maritime zones and conduct of patrol and surveillance which conform with the rules and regulations established by the UNCLOS," Senior Representative Kenji Kuronuma stated during the lecture.

Meanwhile, Captain Mitzi Campo, the PCG staff for maritime security services, thanked the Japanese counterparts for their initiatives.

“The PCG recognizes the essential benefit of understanding key issues, developments, and discourse on the law that governs the seas. It is crucial to maintain a credible, informed, and effective maritime law enforcement agency. As part of the global community, the PCG is always appreciative to learn from experts to discuss the undercurrent and shed light on the recent development, even amid the pandemic,” Captain Campo expressed.

The activity aimed to support the PCG in the conduct of maritime security-related missions and the effective utilization of the 44-meter MRRVs and upcoming 94-meter MRRV provided through the Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA).

To enhance the PCG’s capability on vessel operations, maintenance planning, and maritime law enforcement operations, the government of Japan, through JICA, has been consistent in providing financial assistance to the Philippine government in purchasing the completed delivery of 10 44-meter MRRVs and the upcoming one 94-meter MRRV and other technical cooperation projects.