By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

CAPITAL SHIP. The BRP Teresa Magbanua docked at the PCG Headquarters in Port Area, Manila in this undated photo. Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Endo Kazuya on Wednesday (May 15, 2024) assured Japan’s support to the planned acquisition of five more similar 97-meter multi-role response vessels of the Philippine Coast Guard that will be delivered around 2027 to 2028. (Photo courtesy of PCG)

MANILA – Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Endo Kazuya on Wednesday assured the support of the Japanese government in the acquisition of five more capital ships by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

The assurance was made during Endo’s courtesy visit to PCG Commandant, Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan at the PCG Headquarters in Manila.

In an interview after the courtesy visit, Gavan said while the Philippines welcomes all offers from various countries, Japan has been providing the country “with the most opportunities.”

“We are very grateful for their cooperation to make sure the WPS [West Philippine Sea] remains peaceful, stable, and prosperous for our respective people,” he said.

PCG spokesperson, Rear Admiral Armando Balilo said the Philippines and Japan will conduct a note signing for the acquisition of five 97-meter multi-role response vessels (MRRVs) on Friday.

“The contract signing will ensure thereafter. We expect the arrival of the five 97-meter MRRVs to expand the PCG fleet around 2027 to 2028,” Balilo said in a statement.

To date, the PCG has two 97-meter MRRVs–the BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701) and BRP Melchora Aquino (MRRV-9702).

Both ships are currently active in maritime security and safety operations in the West Philippine Sea. (PNA)