U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris Will Come Aboard the BRP Teresa Magbanua

BRP Teresa Magbanua is the Philippine Coast Guard’s largest and most advanced vessel.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will tour the Philippine Coast Guard’s flagship vessel, the BRP Teresa Magbanua as she makes her trip to Palawan on November 22. Harris will deliver a speech aboard the vessel. 

The BRP Teresa Magbanua and its sister vessel, the BRP Melchora Aquino were built by Japan’s Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. The BRP Teresa Magbanua was commissioned into service by the coast guard on May 2, 2022. The two state-of-the-art vessels are the Philippine Coast Guard’s largest and most advanced ships designed for law enforcement and patrols in Philippine waters. 

BRP Teresa Magbanua and BRP Melchora Aquino, Flagship Vessels of the Philippine Coast Guard

Photo by CG ASN CB PIS-AN / CGPA..

Photo by CG ASN CB PIS-AN / CGPA..

The 97-meter Kunigami-class vessels come with an underwater robot or a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for subsea surveillance. Besides underwater surveillance, underwater robots are also used for search and rescue operations.

Why is U.S. Vice Presidet Kamala Harris visiting Palawan?

U.S. Vice President Harris is scheduled to meet with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte from November 20 to 22. After the her trip to Manila, she is scheduled to fly to Palawan in what is largely seen as a signal demonstrating America’s commitment to security issues surrounding the West Philippine Sea. Harris is the first high-ranking U.S. elected official to visit Palawan. 

The BRP Teresa Magbanua had been deployed to the West Philippine Sea for sea patrols before anchoring at the port of Puerto Princesa in anticipation of the visit by Harris. 

Harris is expected to reaffirm America’s commitment to its oldest strategic ally in Asia. The U.S. and the Philippines are bound by the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty, which has become the foundation of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the two countries. 


In the past years, the Philippines has significantly expanded naval force and coast guard vessels. In 2020, the Philippine Navy received its most advanced warships from  South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries: the BRP Jose Rizal and the BRP Antonio Luna. In August 2022, the BRP Antonio Luna placed third in the gunnery exercises at RIMPAC, the world’s largest naval drill participated in by 26 countries. 

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