After this month, the PH government, specifically the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), will have two new 97-meter multi-role response vessels. 

According to PCG, they’re anticipating the delivery of the MRRV-9702, which will be called BRP Melchora Aquino, expected to arrive from Japan next month. The first one, BRP Teresa Magbanua, arrived earlier this year in February and is undergoing technical and safety inspections before being officially commissioned.

PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu said the addition of these new vessels into the country’s fleet will boost the Coast Guard’s maritime capabilities, especially when it comes to defending PH’s territory in the West Philippine Sea. 

Abu adds that the news of the second vessel’s arrival bears quite the meaning as the country will be celebrating “Araw ng Kagitingan” or Day of Valor on April 9.

“Sa darating na Sabado, ipagdiriwang ng sambayanang Pilipino ang ‘Araw ng Kagitingan’ bilang pagbabalik-tanaw sa sakripisyo ng mga bayaning sundalo na inialay ang kanilang buhay para sa kalayaan na tinatamasa natin sa kasalukuyan,” he said on Monday (April 4).

“Kaya naman sa linggong ito, hinihimok ko ang bawat Coast Guardian na maglingkod nang may kagitingan para sa bayan,” Abu added. 

The government procured the two ships – the biggest Coast Guard vessels to date – from the Japanese company Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. under the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project Phase II (MSCIP Phase 2) of the Department of Transportation (DOTr). It’s part of ongoing efforts to modernize the PCG.

The MRRVs cost JPY 14.6 billion, which is equal to P7 billion. Meanwhile, its contract was inked on December 27, 2019, and came into effect on May 8, 2020.

Abu said the new vessels will be used to improve the maritime security, safety, law enforcement, search and rescue, and environmental protection of the Philippine coast. Besides this, it will also be of great help when it comes to humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) operations in times of calamities.

“What we are experiencing right now is the era of the modern Coast Guard. We have surpassed major challenges and achieved remarkable accomplishments in the past six years and amid the global pandemic,” Abu stressed. 

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