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US funds study for PH vessel traffic management system expansion

MANILA: The Philippines’ Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the US Trade Development Agency (USTDA) signed a grant agreement for a PHP55-million feasibility study on the expansion of the Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) vessel traffic management system (VTMS).

In a news release on Monday, the US Embassy in the Philippines said the new and improved VTMS capabilities would help the PCG prevent and respond to vessel collisions, environmental incidents and other emergencies.

‘The USTDA grant will provide the DOTr and PCG with the necessary technical expertise and cutting-edge U.S. solutions to implement the project,’ US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson said at the ceremonial grant agreement signing at the DOTr central office in Mandaluyong City.

‘This project will help protect marine ecosystems while improving maritime trade and commerce -two equally important and mutually reinforcing lines of effort to help improve Philippine lives and livelihoods.’

USTDA’s study will evaluate the performance
of the PCG’s existing VTMS in the Cebu Strait, assess the potential implementation of the system at up to 10 additional locations across the country, and create detailed implementation plans.

DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista said the VTMS would promote efficient movement of people and goods through the Philippines’ island water corridors.

‘It will be a key step that will empower the PCG to level up their maritime security and marine environment protection capabilities. We look forward to continuing our partnerships with the USTDA and the US Embassy as we see the full potential of this system,’ he said.

In November 2022, US Vice President Kamala Harris announced this initiative during her visit to the Philippines.

USTDA Director Enoh Ebong said their agency is pleased to partner with the DOTr to expand opportunities for high-quality US infrastructure solutions to benefit the Philippines’ overall maritime safety.

‘VTMS technology will improve trade, protect the environment, and save lives in the Philippines,’
she said.

Source: Philippines News Agency