MANILA - President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday commended the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for fulfilling its role in the face of new challenges in patrolling the country's 36,289-kilometer coastline, including dealing with the tension in the West Philippine Sea.
"Isangdaan at labintatlong taon na nga po ang Philippine Coast Guard at sa paglipas ng panahon, nagbabagong anyo rin ang mga kinakaharap nating hamon," the President said during the PCG's 113rd anniversary celebration in its headquarters in Port Area, Manila.
He said climate change has brought about an increase in storms that are also more powerful. He also noted the complicated situation in the West Philippine Sea.
"Sa inyo nakasalalay ang kaligtasan ng ating karagatan mula sa anumang banta ng pagkasira. Kayo rin ang nagsasagawa ng mga operasyon laban sa smugglers, human traffickers, poachers at iba pang masasamang loob na lumalabag o mangangahas na lumabag sa batas pandagat ng ating bansa," he said.
The Chief Executive said that the government is recognizing the PCG's dedicated service with efforts to modernize their equipment and improve their capability.
He cited the purchase of 40 rubber boats and 300 aluminum boats for the PCG to use in patrols, as well as in search and rescue operations. He also announced the delivery of 10 40-meter multi-role responsive vessels from Japan between October 2015 and October 2017; the start of the construction of 113 lighthouses and 109 more upon the acquisition of land; and the completion of the National Coast Watch Center in April 2015.
"Ang lahat po ng mga inisyatibang ito ay nakaangkla sa iisang prinsipyo: ang pagiging handa sa anumang problema o tensyong maaaring maganap sa ating karagatan," he said.
He called on the members of the Coast Guard to continue their dedication to their work.
"Nawa'y patuloy kayong maging huwaran sa inyong mga kasamahan sa pagtitimon sa Philippine Coast Guard sa pampang ng mas matatag at maunlad na kinabukasan," he said.
The President, with PCG Vice Admiral Rodolfo Isorena, also conferred awards to deserving Coast Guard officers and personnel as well as civilians who have rendered commendable and brilliant services.
Also attending the event were Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Abaya; Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Gregorio Pio Catapang, Jr.; Philippine Air Force Commanding General Lt. General Jeffrey Delgado; Philippine Navy Chief Vice Admiral Jesus Millan; Bureau of Fire Protection Director Chief Superintendent Carlito Romero; and members of the diplomatic corps.