U.S. turns over Palawan boat facility to Philippine Marine Corps

U.S. Senior Defense Official to the Philippines and JUSMAG-Philippines Chief Col. Stephen Ma and Philippine Marine Corps Commandant Maj. Gen. Nestor Herico lead the April 9 turnover of an assault boat maintenance bay facility to the PMC in Puerto Princesa.

On April 9, the United States turned over a newly constructed assault boat maintenance bay facility in Puerto Princesa, Palawan to the Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) as part of a small-scale construction Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grant.

The facility is one of three FMF construction projects, valued overall at Php256.9 million ($5 million).  The two others are in Zamboanga and in Ternate, Cavite and were turned over in November 2021 and in February, respectively.  The PMC conducted final inspection and acceptance of the Puerto Princesa facility on April 4.

The Puerto Princesa structure is valued at approximately Php17.5 million ($340,000) and consists of a 30m long x 16m wide x 4.5m high maintenance bay and a 5-ton gantry crane.  The facility will be used primarily by the Assault Boat Battalion as well as other tenant commands co-located at the 3rd Marine Brigade Headquarters in Puerto Princesa.  The mission of the Assault Boat Battalion is to conduct sea-to-shore amphibious operations as well as maritime interdiction boardings at sea.

“We are inspired to see the PMC pursue its bold and vital modernization plan to expand its presence and maintain its maritime fleet in order to meet the full array of challenges in these archipelagic waters,” said U.S. Senior Defense Official and Chief of the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group-Philippines Col. Stephen Ma.  “Together, the United States and the Philippines will continue to make great strides in the pursuit of free and open waters.”

“On behalf of the PMC, we are grateful for this facility, others like it, and the ironclad U.S.-Philippine partnership,” said PMC Commandant Maj. Gen. Nestor Herico at the turnover ceremony.  “As we assemble here together, it is fitting that today marks 80 years since the Bataan Death March and this year marks the 75th anniversary of our relationship with JUSMAG.  We are very grateful for this assistance and this alliance.”

In the past five years alone, the United States has provided over Php15.8 billion ($302.3 million) in grant assistance through FMF to support the Philippines’ sovereignty and modernization efforts.

For more information about the U.S.’ security assistance to the Philippines, visit https://ph.usembassy.gov/fact-sheet-u-s-philippines-defense-and-security-partnership/.