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.

The United States has handed over a newly-constructed assault boat maintenance bay facility in Puerto Princesa to the Philippine Marines Corps (PMC) as part of a small-scale construction Foreign Military Financing (FMF) grant.

The boat maintenance bay, which was turned over on April 9, is one of three FMF construction works worth P256.9 million ($5 million), according to a statement released Monday by the US Embassy in Manila.

The remaining two, in Zamboanga and Ternate, Cavite, were handed over in November 2021 and February 2022, respectively. On April 4, the PMC completed a final examination and acceptance of the Puerto Princesa facility.

The embassy stated the structure in Puerto Princesa is worth about P17.5 million ($340,000) and consists of a 30-meter-long, 16-meter-wide, 4.5-meter-high maintenance bay and a 5-ton gantry crane.

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The Assault Boat Battalion (ABB), as well as other tenant units co-located at the 3rd Marine Brigade (3MBde) Headquarters at Marine Base Rodolfo Punsalang in Barangay Tiniguiban, Puerto Princesa, will use the facility.

The Assault Boat Battalion’s goal is to perform amphibious operations from sea to shore, as well as maritime interdiction takeoffs and landings at sea.

The grant was provided as the PMC pursues bold and vital modernization to expand its presence and maintain its maritime fleet to meet the full range of challenges in the archipelagic waters, according to US senior defense official and chief of the Joint US Military Assistance Group-Philippines Col. Stephen Ma.

Ma said the PMC’s efforts are inspiring and are important in enhancing the U.S. and the Philippines’ alliance.

“Together, the United States and the Philippines will continue to make great strides in the pursuit of free and open waters,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Nestor Herico, commandant of the PMC, expressed gratitude for the facility and the country’s strong alliance with the United States.

“It is important in forwarding the maintenance of the PMC’ water assets. It is essential as well in the performance of the mission of marine operating forces in Palawan,” Herico told Palawan News on Monday.

“The facility will also support the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) in partnership with local government units (LGUs) and other agencies,” he added.

Herico said the ceremony was meaningful in commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Bataan Death March and the 75th year of the alliance with JUSMAG.

The United States has committed about P15.8 billion ($302.3 million) in grant assistance to the Philippines through the FMF in just the last five years to support the country’s sovereignty and modernization efforts.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.