Philippines to acquire 5 patrol ships from Japan by 2028

The Philippines has signed a deal with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, or JICA, to procure by 2028 five large patrol ships for its coast guard.

Amid soaring tensions between the Philippines and China over claims in disputed waters, JICA inked the agreement with the Philippine Finance Department on Monday to provide a low-interest loan worth some 64 billion yen, or 410 million dollars.

The 97-meter multi-role response vessels can carry out long-term missions in the open sea. Delivery is expected in 2027 and the following year.

Philippine Finance Secretary Ralph Recto said it is "critical" to fully equip the Philippine Coast Guard with cutting-edge vessels to fulfil its mission as the guardian of the country's seas, protecting maritime sovereignty and defending the rights of Filipino fishers.

JICA Philippines Office Chief Representative Sakamoto Takema said the agency would give its "highest commitment and support" to fulfill those needs.

Japan has provided 12 patrol ships to the Philippines through loans since 2013. Most are operating in the South China Sea.