MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is continuously recruiting to achieve the ideal number of 72,000 personnel in order to fully execute its mandate of protecting the country’s 36,000 kilometer long coastline.
The PCG said there have been sightings of Chinese fishing vessels in the West Philippine Sea.
PCG Commandant VADM Leopoldo Laroya said tensions between PCG personnel and Chinese mariners do occur at times.
“Mayroon pakonti-konti na nilalapitan ng [Philippine] Coast Guard. We also maintain a constant patrol in the area and when challenged, they sometimes challenge our challenge but in the end they leave,” he said.
The PCG was able to increase its force from 7,000 personnel in 2016 to 20,600 coast guards this year.
In 2021 alone, the PCG was able to hire around 4,000 new recruits.
In the next five years, the agency is confident of having around 36,000 personnel.
Aside from border security, the PCG is also focused on assisting all returning overseas Filipinos.
“Marami kaming tao na nagkaka-COVID pero meron din namang kapalit. And all our people are being taken care of,” Laroya assured.
As for seafarers, the Maritime Industry Authority (MIA) through the Commission on Higher Eduction (CHED) is requesting the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to allow face-to-face classes for maritime students.
The agency said the pandemic has prevented the industry from producing new seafarer-graduates for two years in a row.
“Hanggang ngayon hindi allowed yung ODT aboardship. So habang wala pang guidance to allow it, then we will continue not to graduate our Filipino seafarers,” explained MIA Administrator VADM Robert Empedrad.
The official said it is still to the advantage of the Philippines to have sufficient number of seafarers for its local maritime operations. MNP (with Rey Pelayo)