ILOILO CITY – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) inaugurated its PHP50 million regional headquarters in Bo. Obrero, in this city’s Lapuz district on Monday afternoon.
The new PCG regional headquarters aims to strengthen and support the PCG workforce in carrying out its mission of safeguarding life and property, marine environment protection, and in conducting humanitarian missions and disaster response and management operations, said Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade who led the inauguration together with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Iloilo City Lone District Rep. Julienne Baronda.
The project was funded under the convergence program of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) but it was through the constant prodding of Baronda that led to its funding, conceptualization, and construction, Tugade added.
He emphasized the need to strengthen the culture, values, and ways of doing things to sustain the facility.
“I want the Philippine Coast Guard must always be imbued with the right character and the proper ways of doing things. I inculcate the value and the discipline, of value and culture of doing things, especially if you are in uniform,” he said.
To maximize the use of the PCG building, he instructed the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) through General Manager Jay Santiago, to study the possibility of constructing a pier adjacent to the new headquarters.
This, after Baronda urged the construction of a small port to ensure the “accessibility and efficiency” of the PCG during calamities and disasters.
Baronda, in her message, articulated her gratitude to the PCG for assisting overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in ferrying them back home to Iloilo when transportation was unavailable during the early period of the health pandemic.
Meanwhile, Tugade expressed his desire to establish the PCG Shore Auxiliary Volunteers among the ranks of the PCG Auxiliary (PCGA) even as he expressed his gratitude and appreciation for their help to the PCG rescue and relief operations.
“I want auxiliaries appointed amongst volunteers living by the coastal of the Republic of the Philippines. The Philippines is an archipelago, there are more waters than land and therefore we need more people to man the coastal than the land. Of course without saying, we should also man the land,” he said.
He added that the auxiliary shore patrol volunteers will be helping the PCG in safeguarding the shoreline for the welfare of all and not just for fisherfolk.
Once they are organized, Tugade said he will come back for their oath-taking to officially welcome them as volunteers of the PCG Shore Auxiliary Volunteers.
Also joining during the inauguration was PCG Commandant Vice Admiral Leopoldo Laroya. (PNA)