MANILA-On May 9, U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Y. Robert Ewing and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Deputy Commandant for Administration Vice Admiral Allan Victor Dela Vega inaugurated the PCG’s new P54 million ($950,000) vessel maintenance facility funded by the U.S. government to enable more extensive maintenance support for the PCG’s rapidly expanding vessel fleet.

The Fleet Maintenance and Repair Group (MRG) Workshop is the PCG’s first facility built specifically for vessel maintenance.

Designed by the U.S. Coast Guard based on its vessel support sites, the 400-square-meter structure located at the Cavite Buoy Base in Sangley Point houses a machine shop, welding shop, electrical shop, staff office space, and storage room.

The facility’s specialized construction provides a wide range of capabilities that enable repairs on all types of vessels regardless of size, function, or country of origin.

The construction of the MRG Workshop was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense through the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group-Philippines.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs also provided funding for equipment and training for technicians who are assigned to the MRG to conduct maintenance on vessel equipment.

“The MRG Workshop enables the Philippines to conduct more continuous and reliable vessel operations out at sea, counter illegal fishing, strengthen maritime domain awareness, and address unlawful activities from aggressive foreign actors,” Deputy Chief of Mission Ewing said in his remarks. “This marks another significant evolution in the bedrock partnership between the United States and the PCG.”

Deputy Chief of Mission Ewing noted the U.S. government’s previous efforts to support the PCG’s modernization, such as the construction of the U.S.-funded Specialized Education and Technical Building in Balagtas, Bulacan, which opened in 2023 to offer classroom and hands-on courses on vessel operations and engineering for PCG personnel.

“This new workshop from the United States is a gamechanger for the PCG. It will help us repair our ships faster and keep them in tip-top shape to better protect the Philippine waters,” Vice Admiral Dela Vega said. “The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is deeply grateful for the U.S. donation of this vital maintenance and repair facility. This state-of-the-art workshop will significantly enhance our ship repair capabilities and ensure the continued safety and operational efficiency of our fleet.”

The United States will continue to support the MRG in more effectively maintaining the PCG’s vessels to maximize operational presence throughout the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone. (PR)