Over the weekend, reports surfaced that the Philippine coast guard was moving forward with a search for new facilities in the country. The development spotlighted the service’s continued effort to enhance its capabilities in various ways which continues on under current President Rodrigo Duterte.
As I have noted before in these pages, not unlike some of its other Southeast Asian neighbors, the Philippines has been placing an increasing emphasis on the development of its coast guard (See: as it seeks to boost its overall capabilities, which still remain quite limited to cover over 7,000 islands with a tenth of the world’s coastline.)
The development of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has continued on under Duterte, including aspects such as funding, personnel, and equipment amid a mix of continuity and change and in concert with the range of maritime security challenges that the country faces.
Over the weekend, the PCG was in the headlines again with the continuing search for a new provincial office and regional training center. PCG officials had visited a series of villages in the Bicol region for the potential location of a new office and training facilities.
In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), district representative Fernando Cabredo said that officials of PCG Bicol had visited three villages in the west coast of Ligao City in Albay province over the weekend as they consider future facilities there. The PCG officials conducted a inspection at the ports of Pantao village in Libon and Pio Duran, and the villages of Catburawan, Cabadi-an and Maonon in Ligao City for the possible location of their new provincial office and training facilities.
According to Cabredo, he and Ligao City Mayor Patty Gonzales-Alsua offered at least five hectares lot in the three villages to PCG. He also spoke about the benefits of having a PCG office in that location, including the 2,000 slots for Bicol for new applicants to the PCG which would boost employment, the potential increase in economic activity in the west coast of the third district, and the additional security provided by the PCG including protecting towns and implementing fishery laws.
To be sure, no details were issued as to how far along plans are for the new facility, including specific timelines and budgetary allocations. Nonetheless, as the PCG continues to mull opportunities for expansion, the setting up of new facilities will continue to be among the key aspects to monitor closely in the coming months and years.