The Philippine Coast Guard today received its newest ship – the Multi-role Response Vessel (MRRV) BRP Malabrigo.
This is the second of the ten ships the Philippines has loaned from Japanese government, intended for patrol operations in our maritime territories particularly in the West Philippine Sea.
It will also be equipped for maritime law enforcement and search and rescue operations.
According to PCG spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo, Bajo de Masinloc is one of the possible destinations of BRP Malabrigo after its commissioning next week.
“Despite the improved relations between China and the Philippines with respect to deployment in Bajo [de Masinloc], we will continue our deployment and this might be sent there to demonstrate our presence and to monitor our fishermen there."
Based on the latest monitoring report, Chinese coast guard vessels have never left Bajo de Masinloc even when Filipino fishermen are allowed access to the area.
“Yesterday, we have the same monitoring [report] – there are Chinese fishing boats there and they are allowed to freely fish in the area together with our fishing boats but still there is presence of Chinese coast guard. I think there are four Chinese coast guard and Chinese militia vessels there.” said Cdr. Balilo
BRP Malabrigo (MRRV-4402) was named after Faro de Punta de Malabrigo, one of the 24 lighthouses built in Lobo, Batangas during the Spanish colonial period.
Its sister ship, BRP Tubbataha, was delivered earlier last October and is now being sent on patrol missions.
see: Philippine Coastguard has a new addition to its fleet
Japan is expected to deliver four Parola-class patrol vessels next year and another four in 2018.
The Philippines has also ordered two bigger ships from Japan during President Duterte’s visit last October and these will be delivered to the country in 2020.