Aquino to sign JP¥18.7-B loan for additional Coast Guard vessels

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III is set to sign a JP¥18.732-billion (US$ 187-million) loan to acquire 10 multi-role vessels from Japan as additional sea assets of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

PCG Public Affairs chief Commander Armando Balilo said the Chief Executive will sign the final agreement together with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the side lines of the upcoming Asean-Japan summit in Tokyo on Friday.

The agreement will enable the PCG to upgrade its current fleet line-up with additional 10 brand new 40-meter multi-purpose vessels through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) that will strengthen their task in defending the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Balilo said that they are looking forward to these new acquisitions, which will be useful in the performance of their regular functions, such as, maritime search and rescue operations, maritime law enforcement, maritime safety, maritime environmental protection and maritime security.

He added that as the agency has been saddled with new tasks that involve international relations, particularly with some neighboring countries in the West Philippine Sea, they are now taking a more active role as the country's guardians of the borders.

The country's maritime law enforcement agency currently has nine existing floating assets in its fleet's roster.

The Philippine government is also in talks with French government for other purchases, namely four brand new 24-meter ships and one 82-meter ship. The timetable for delivery is in the first semester of year 2015.

The funding will reportedly come from the project allotted previously by the Arroyo Government to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) but was later on cancelled by the Aquino administration due to several technical issues.

Balilo said that all newly-acquired sea crafts, once they have been turned over to the PCG, will also be assigned to do patrol operations in several contested territories in the West Philippine Sea. (Sunnex)

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