The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has commissioned two additional French-manufactured patrol boats for its anti-smuggling operations across the country, an official said Friday.
“The primary mission of the patrol boats is the campaign against smuggling. Three will be jointly operated by PCG and Bureau of Customs,” Capt. Armand Balilo, PCG spokesperson, said in a text message to reporters.
The sea vessels BRP Malamawi (FPB 2403) and BRP Kalanggaman (FB 2404) arrived at Subic Port on Thursday, completing the acquisition of four patrol boats under the implementation of the Philippine Ports and Coast Guard Capability Development Project.
In October, patrol boats BRP Boracay (FPB 2401) and BRP Panglao (FPB 2402) arrived in the country.
“The primary mission of these patrol boats is to fight smuggling. Three of these boats will be jointly operated by the PCG and BOC,” Balilo said.
“This is the first time that we have devoted ships for anti-smuggling,” Balilo added.
The acquisition of the patrol boats was made through a contract signed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) with French shipbuilder, Ocea SA, to strengthen the enforcement in maritime safety and security, and marine environmental protection.
Meanwhile, the PCG also announced that an 82-meter offshore patrol vessel is scheduled to be delivered by August 2019, which is also part of the Philippine Ports and Coast Guard Capability Development Project.
The project involves the supply, delivery and maintenance of four brand new 24-meter patrol boats and one 84-meter offshore patrol vessel to be purchased by DOTr for the use of the PCG.
The PCG said these sea vessels may be deployed to deter piracy incidents in southern Mindanao and defend the country’s territorial claims over the West Philippine Sea.
The French government has provided a loan worth 97.03 million euros through Official Development Assistance (ODA) using the remaining balance of the Greater Maritime Access (GMA) RoRo Port Projects of the Arroyo administration. (PNA)