MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Thursday, December 8, formally received the 2nd out of 10 multi-role response vessels (MRRVs) that its defense ally Japan committed to provide through a loan.
Arrival honors were given to BRP Malabrigo on Thursday morning at the PCG headquarters in Manila. It is named after Faro de Punta de Malabrigo, one of the 24 lighthouses built in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period.
BRP Malabrigo will join the 1st ship from Japan, BRP Tubbataha, in patrolling Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc) off the coast of Zambales, according to PCG spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo. (READ: PH Coast Guard regular patrol in Scarborough resumed August)
The 44-meter multi-role vessels were acquired to boost the capability of the ill-equipped PCG to fulfill its responsibilities in maritime law enforcement, security, search and rescue, and safety administration, as well as marine environmental protection.
The PCG used to relegate the job of patrolling Scarborough Shoal to the Philippine Navy. Lately, however, the PCG has been sending regular patrols there to establish Philippine presence in the disputed area.
The acquisition of the vessels is the result of an official development assistance project, a tied loan extended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The remaining 8 MRRVs will also be named after the primary lighthouses in the country, according to the PCG.