Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Lieutenant Commander Jay Tristan Tarriela noted Japan’s key role in promoting coast guard diplomacy in Southeast Asia, amid regional maritime issues such as the territorial dispute at the South China Sea, non-traditional security threats, piracy and terrorism.
Tarriela is currently a post-graduate scholar on Global Governance under the Knowledge Co-Creation Program Long-Term Scholarship of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
“Japan’s assistance through JICA’s cooperation with the Philippines to professionalize PCG personnel is important for our country since we are an archipelagic and maritime nation. More than 90 percent of our domestic trade passes through the seas, and ensuring the safety of those sea lanes is vital to the Philippine economy,” Tarriela said at a recent lecture on “Coast Guards in Asia” at the Philippine Public Safety College.
He said coast guard diplomacy is developing in Southeast Asia because of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, conflicting claims on the South China Sea, non-traditional security threats, piracy and terrorism.
He also cited Japan’s assistance in the region through maritime safety and security programs, provision of equipment and patrol vessels, and meetings and conferences on coast guard systems.
In the Philippines, the Japanese government through JICA has been assisting the PCG through a Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project to improve the country’s response capacity to coastal maritime incidents and search and rescue. The project also enhances PCG’s capability on maritime law enforcement.
Over the past years, Japan has provided the PCG with 18.732 billion yen in Official Development Assistance (ODA) for 10 multi-role response vessels (MRRVs), training of over 200 PCG personnel on maritime law enforcement, maritime security and safety, search and rescue, and environment protection.
Recently, Japan also provided the PCG a 16.455 billion yen ODA for two 90-meter class MRRVs.#