PH, Japan, US coast guards to hold drills starting June 1

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will hold its first-ever trilateral maritime exercise with its counterparts in the United States and Japan off the waters of Mariveles, Bataan from June 1 to 7.

The PCG will deploy BRP Melchora Aquino (MRRV-9702), BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301), BRP Boracay (FPB-2401), and one 44-meter multi-role response vessel, while the USCG and JCG will send USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752) and Akitsushima (PLH-32), respectively.

The BRP Melchora Aquino and the 44-meter MRRV were acquired through the Japan International Cooperation Agency-Department of Transportation Maritime Safety Improvement Project.

The PCG said the joint maritime exercise would strengthen inter-operability among the participating Coast Guards through communication exercises, maneuvering drills, photo exercises, maritime law enforcement training, search and rescue (SAR) and passing exercises. Their joint team will carry out a boarding inspection followed by a SAR operation. 

PCG Vice Admiral Rolando Punzalan Jr. said the exercise would also improve maritime cooperation and understanding. “The US Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard have been assisting us in our human resource development program, particularly in law enforcement training. This is a good opportunity to thank and show them what our personnel learned from their programs,” he noted.