Bill seeks to boost PH Coast Guard strength

May 15, 2024 Camille P. Balagtas 123 views

SENATOR Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian has filed a bill seeking to reform and reorganize the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to build its capacities amid the continuing aggression of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

“This measure seeks to strengthen PCG’s capability by enhancing its organizational structure and enabling it to attract qualified personnel. It aims to better equip the coast guard to fulfill its mandate, considering the importance of having a well-mannered and responsive institution to meet regional and international challenges related to the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines,” Gatchalian said as he filed Senate Bill 2650.

The proposed measure specifically seeks to repeal Republic Act 9993, also known as the Philippine Coast Guard Law of 2009, and replace it with the Revised Philippine Coast Guard Law.

Gatchalian noted that gaps in organizational structure, administration, and ensuring personnel welfare have negatively impacted PCG operations.

“For one, RA 9993 is silent on the benefits of both uniformed and non-uniformed personnel of PCG given the transfer from the Philippine Navy to the Department of Transportation,” he said.

The PCG, initially established as a major unit of the Philippine Army in 1967, transitioned to civilian administration, moving from the Office of the President to the Department of Transportation in 1998.

Gatchalian had filed a separate bill seeking to modernize the PCG. Senate Bill 2516 or the PCG Modernization Act which aims to enhance PCG’s assets and facilities and bolster its capabilities, seeks to develop a more mobile and visible coast guard force that will establish its vision to become a world-class guardian of the sea by 2025.