By Dona Z. Pazzibugan
The JS Matsuyuki (DD-130)
MANILA, Philippines—As the country’s territorial dispute with China over the Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea entered its seventh week, Japan is set to send three of its naval ships on a five-day goodwill visit to Manila.
The Philippine Navy announced Friday that three vessels from the Japanese Training Squadron of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force will arrive in Manila Bay on May 28.
The JS Kashima (TV-3508), JS Shimayuki (TV-3513) and JS Matsuyuki (DD-130) will be in the country until June 1 for a series of goodwill activities with the Philippine Navy and some government agencies.
The squadron will be headed by Rear Admiral Hidetoshi Fuchinoue, the Philippine Navy said.
Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario has said that Japan would likely provide the country with 10 40-meter patrol boats under its official development aid and two larger ones as grants.
The Philippine Coast Guard also expects to acquire 10 brand-new patrol ships from Japan within the year.
The goodwill visit comes amid the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China that started when two Chinese maritime ships prevented a Philippine Navy ship from apprehending Chinese poachers last April 10.
As of Tuesday this week, China has deployed five maritime ships, 16 fishing boats and 56 dinghies that apparently continued to fish and gather endangered marine resources in the Panatag shoal despite China’s fishing ban.