PCG boosts recruitment to strengthen PH maritime security

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2021   •   350

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)

PCG remains on heightened alert as Typhoon Kiko threatens Northern Luzon

Robie de Guzman   •   September 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) remains on heightened alert to provide immediate assistance to residents who may be affected by the possible onslaught of Typhoon Kiko (international name: Chanthu).

In a statement, the PCG said it has coordinated with local government units and disaster management offices in areas that are on the direct path of ‘Kiko’.

In the 11 a.m. bulletin, the state weather bureau said ‘Kiko’ has slightly intensified as it continues to creep closer to extreme northern Luzon.

The typhoon was last spotted at 220 kilometers northeast of Casiguran, Aurora or east of Tuguegarao, Cagayan. It is packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour (kph) near the center, and gustiness of up to 240 kph.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) No. 3 is hoisted over the extreme northeastern portion of Cagayan and the eastern part of Babuyan Islands.

TCWS No. 2 is raised over Batanes, the rest of Babuyan Islands, the remaining eastern portion of mainland Cagayan, the northeastern portion of Isabela, and the northeastern part of Apayao.

Meanwhile, TCWS No. 1 is up over the rest of mainland Cagayan, the eastern portion of Ilocos Norte, the rest of Apayao, the northern portion of Kalinga, eastern pat of Mountain Province, the northeastern portion of Abra, the northwestern and southeastern portions of Isabela and the northern portion of Aurora.

PCG commandant Vice Admiral Leopoldo Laroya has directed the PCG District Northeastern Luzon and Northwestern Luzon to ensure that their deployable response groups and quick response teams are all-set for swift evacuation and rescue operations, most especially in flood-prone residential communities in Batanes, Cagayan, and Northern Isabela.

“We learned so much during our operations amid Typhoon Ulysses last year that left major damages in the Cagayan Valley region. Aside from training our people and increasing our assets, we also partnered with LGUs so that even ordinary citizens are equipped with basic skills in ensuring the safety of lives in times of natural calamities and emergencies,” Laroya said.

“The PCG cannot do it on its own. We need the support of our stakeholders and the general public to lessen, if not prevent, the loss of lives during typhoon season,” he added.

Major commands at the PCG National Headquarters have also been instructed to prepare their assets and preposition their teams to immediately assist districts that may need augmentation.

PCG personnel of concerned Coast Guard districts have also reminded fishermen and other mariners to avoid venturing the sea during inclement weather conditions for their safety.

This is following reports of distressed fishermen in the Western and Eastern Visayas regions after residents went on fishing ventures despite the suspension due to Tropical Storm Jolina.

“Nauunawaan natin ang ating mga kababayan na sinusuong ang sama ng panahon para may makain ang kanilang pamilya,” Laroya said.

“Pero, hiling po namin ay iprayoridad ng ating mga mangingisda ang kanilang kaligtasan dahil sa oras na may kapahamakang mangyari sa kanila sa gitna ng dagat, ay lalong hihirap ang sitwasyon ng maiiwan nilang pamilya,” he added.

The PCG Auxiliary (PCGA) has also been alerted to prepare for relief operations and other humanitarian missions in areas that will be most affected by the typhoon, the agency said.

Typhoon Kiko is seen to bring heavy to intense rains in parts of Cagayan, Ilocos, Cordillera Administrative Region, Aurora and Cagayan Valley which may trigger flooding and landslides in areas susceptible to these hazards.

PCG deploys teams to help in evacuation, rescue ops amid onslaught of ‘Jolina’

Robie de Guzman   •   September 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Wednesday said its District NCR-Central Luzon has activated its deployable response groups to support local government units in the possible conduct of evacuation and rescue operations amid the onslaught of Severe Tropical Storm Jolina.

In a statement, PCG District NCR – Central Luzon commander Commodore Charlie Rances said all their search and rescue equipment and mobility assets are operational and serviceable for possible augmentation.

PCG stations and sub-stations have also been placed on heightened alert status and are continuously conducting precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the residents.

Some residents in the provinces of Quezon, Laguna, and parts of Western and Eastern Visayas regions have been evacuated due to heavy rains and flooding brought about by Jolina.

As of 8 a.m. Wednesday, the PCG said it has monitored a total of 742 stranded passengers, drivers, and cargo helpers in various ports in Bicol, Southern Tagalog, and Western Visayas Regions.

Around 15 vessels, 358 rolling cargoes, and 10 motorbancas, were also reported stranded in the said areas while 52 vessels and 52 motorbancas are taking shelter as Jolina continues to move over Batangas.

The state weather bureau, in its 11 a.m. bulletin, said that Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) No. 2 was raised over 15 areas as Jolina maintained its strength.

These areas include:

  • Marinduque
  • the northern and central portions of Oriental Mindoro (Bansud, Gloria, Pinamalayan, Pola, Socorro, Victoria, Puerto Galera, San Teodoro, Baco, City of Calapan, Naujan)
  • the northern and central portions of Occidental Mindoro (Abra de Ilog, Paluan, Mamburao, Santa Cruz, Sablayan)
  • Lubang Islands
  • the central and southern portions of Quezon (General Luna, Macalelon, Sampaloc, Unisan, Pagbilao, Sariaya, Alabat, Pitogo, City of Tayabas, Padre Burgos, Lucban, Gumaca, Agdangan, Plaridel, San Antonio, Candelaria, Atimonan, Quezon, Tiaong, Mauban, Perez, Lucena City, Dolores, Real, Infanta)
  • Batangas
  • Cavite
  • Laguna
  • Rizal
  • Metro Manila
  • the southern portion of Bulacan (Pandi, Bulacan, Marilao, Calumpit, Norzagaray, Plaridel, Santa Maria, Balagtas, Bocaue, Bustos, City of Malolos, Angat, Obando, City of San Jose del Monte, Pulilan, City of Meycauayan, Hagonoy, Paombong, Guiguinto, San Rafael, Baliuag)
  • Pampanga
  • Bataan
  • Zambales
  • Tarlac


TCWS no. 1 was raised over the following areas:


  • La Union;
  • the southern portion of Benguet (Sablan, Tublay, Bokod, La Trinidad, Baguio City, Itogon, Tuba, Kapangan, Atok);
  • the southern portion of Nueva Vizcaya (Alfonso Castaneda, Dupax del Norte, Dupax del Sur, Aritao, Santa Fe, Kayapa);
  • the southern portion of Aurora (Baler, Maria Aurora, San Luis, Dingalan);
  • Pangasinan;
  • Nueva Ecija;
  • the rest of Bulacan;
  • the rest of Quezon including Polillo Islands;
  • Camarines Norte;
  • the western portion of Camarines Sur (Ragay, Del Gallego, Lupi, Sipocot, Cabusao, Libmanan, Pasacao, Pamplona);
  • the western portion of Romblon (Odiongan, Romblon, Banton, Santa Maria, Concepcion, San Andres, San Jose, Looc, Ferrol, Alcantara, San Agustin, Calatrava, Corcuera, Santa Fe);
  • the rest of Oriental Mindoro; and
  • and the rest of Occidental Mindoro

PAGASA reported that Jolina made landfall over San Juan, Batangas at 9 a.m.

Afterwards, the tropical cyclone is expected to cross the Batangas-Cavite area before emerging over the mouth of Manila Bay this Wednesday afternoon or evening.

“This will be followed by another landfall in the vicinity of Bataan Peninsula. Frictional effects during its traverse of mainland Luzon will weaken ‘JOLINA’ down to tropical storm category,” PAGASA said.

Jolina is seen to emerge over the West Philippine Sea on Wednesday night or Thursday morning.

The tropical cyclone is forecast to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on tomorrow evening or Friday early morning.

Laroya named new PH Coast Guard chief

Robie de Guzman   •   September 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Vice Admiral Leopoldo Laroya as the next commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the agency announced Wednesday.

In a statement, the PCG said Laroya will take over effective Sept. 8 as Admiral George Ursabia Jr. retires from the Coast Guard Service.

Prior to his appointment as the new PCG commandant, Laroya served as Coast Guard Deputy Commandant for Operations and was entrusted with various major positions, such as Commander of the Maritime Safety Services Command; Coast Guard Education, Training and Doctrine Command; and Maritime Security and Law Enforcement Command.

He also served as commander of PCG Districts in Western Visayas, Northwestern Luzon, Southwestern Mindanao, and Bicol.

The PCG said Laroya is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Maringal Class of 1988.

He completed his post-graduate studies at the World Maritime University in Malmö, Sweden, and earned the degree of Masters in Maritime Safety and Environmental Protection in 2000.

Information from the PCG said that Laroya earned “the most coveted Command at Sea badge” for having commanded two flagship Coast Guard search and rescue vessels (SARV) namely, BRP Batangas (SARV-004) and BRP Nueva Vizcaya (SARV-3502).

He also received numerous awards including Coast Guard Legion of Honor, Bronze Cross Medal, Outstanding Achievement Medals, Superior Achievement Medals, Coast Guard SAR Medals, and Military Merit Medals, among others.


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