PH, U.S to step up maritime security activities through new facility in Bulacan

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 11) — The United States has turned over a new specialized and technical training facility to the Philippine Coast Guard to improve the capabilities of its personnel.

The training facility was six years in the making, according to United States Ambassador MaryKay Calson, with Washington paying for the P250 million investment.

“This building and the training, it will mark an important advance in the Philippine Coast Guard's ability to safely operate and maintain PCG assets that preserve maritime safety, protect the maritime in the marine environment, enforce maritime laws and defend Philippine sovereign rights in the waters around the Philippines, including in the West Philippine Sea,” said Carlson in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the turnover ceremony.

Carlson stressed that the project's timing was just right given the complex geopolitical situation in the West Philippine Sea, as she said more experts from the US coast guard are expected to come to the country and train their Filipino counterparts.

“When the Philippine coast guard is strong, our US-PH alliance is strong, we were able to rescue fishers, and protect livelihood and combatting illegal fishing,” the envoy pointed out.

Carlson further emphasized that her office will continue to iron out programs to ensure that both countries' "interoperability amid coordination is top notch."

For the PCG, the training facility will play a crucial role in improving the capabilities of coast guard personnel.

“Operations and maintenance of ships law enforcement, operations -- sila yung pinaka-mature na coast guard so gusto natin matuto sa kanila [they are most mature coast guard so we want to learn from them],” PCG Vice Admiral Ronnie Gavan said.

Gavan also expressed optimism that the training program would benefit the growing number of PCG members, from 30,000 to 70,000 in the coming years.