Japan to offer yen loans to Philippines for 5 large patrol ships

Japan has signed an agreement to provide five large patrol ships to the Philippines, to be financed with yen loans.

Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Enrique Manalo and Japanese Ambassador Endo Kazuya took part in a signing ceremony held in Manila on Friday.

Under the agreement, Japan will cover the procurement with official development assistance loans worth more than 64 billion yen, or about 410 million dollars.

Manalo expressed gratitude. He said the Philippines intends to enhance its maritime safety capabilities for the sake of the country and the broader maritime community.

The 97-meter-class patrol ships to be procured with the loans are capable of engaging in long-term missions on the high seas.

The Philippine Coast Guard needs such vessels to counter China's increasingly assertive behavior in the contested waters of the South China Sea.

Japan has so far provided 12 patrol ships to the Southeast Asian country.

Ambassador Endo said Japan hopes to continue working with the Philippines, the United States and other members of the international community to safeguard a free and open global order based on the rule of law.