Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)
The Philippine Coast Guard(PCG) had a total strength of 3,138 officers and men in 2001. The PCG is planning to beef up its manpower to 9,177 men due to its massive ship acquisition program. In fact, the Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered the transfer of 2,000 men of the Philippine National Police(PNP) Maritime Command(MARICOM) in mid-2002 to the operational control of the PCG to relieve an impending manpower shortage brought about by the ship acquisition program of the PCG.
Twenty(20) ships are now undergoing construction(14 in Spain, and 6 in Australia) with another 12 ships under negotiation with Japan. The thirty two(32) ships will be delivered starting December 2002, and one ship every month thereafter until 2005. The ships are equipped with high-tech radar, helicopter decks and 30mm double-barrel automatic cannons.
The rapid expansion of the PCG in terms of ships, and men is bound to cause changes in its organizational setup. Certainly, this is evident in the upgrading of the rank of the PCG commander from Rear Admiral to Vice-Admiral which, coincidentally is also the same rank as the Philippine Navy(PN) commander. This has led to speculations that the PCG is a parallel back-up force of the PN. In reality, there is no need to speculate because, indeed, the PCG is the back-up force.
Vice-Admiral Reuben Lista himself said that the PCG operates under the Department of Transportation and Communication(DOTC) during peacetime, and reverts to the Department of Defense(DND) during wartime. This is embodied in Executive order 477 of former President Fidel Ramos.
Philippine Coast Guard(PCG) Ships:
The three(3) brand-new flagships of the PCG: the BRP San Juan (001), BRP Edsa II (002), and the BRP Corregidor(891)
The BRP San Juan (001) conducting high-speed sea trials.
The BRP San Juan (001) embarking its BO-105C helicopter.
The stern of the BRP Edsa II (002) with its helicopter deck. Visible behind the stern is one of the ship’s high-speed RIBs.
Vice-Admiral Reuben Lista showing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo one of the five(5) high-speed RIBs that the BRP Edsa II (002) carries.
The BRP San Juan (001) at dock in the port of Cebu in mid-2001.
The BRP Corregidor (891) in the port of Cebu in mid-2001. She was docked right next to the BRP San Juan (001).
The BRP Corregidor (891) is a modern Marine Accident Response(MAR) and Buoy Tender ship. It doubles in PCG service as a short-range Search and Rescue(SAR) ship.