MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will hire 500 more personnel to form the crew of new patrol ships and rubber boats to keep up with the growing demands of maritime missions, including search and rescue operations.
PCG spokesman Lieutenant Commander Armand Balilo yesterday said that the additional personnel would complement the developments in the PCG such as the procurement of new rubber boats and patrol ships.
“Soon we would be equipped on the resources side, and this should also be the case with the personnel,” he said.
The PCG announced that it would be holding entrance examinations in Cebu Saturday, Cagayan de Oro on July 21, and in Manila and Davao on July 28.
Those who are qualified to join the organization are natural born citizens, single, between 18 to 25 years old, 5’4” in height for male and 5’2” for female, physically and mentally fit to withstand the six to eight months of training on land and sea, and have completed at least 72 units of college education.
Balilo said they also prefer applicants who have taken up maritime courses.
For more information, the public can call the maritime agency’s Public Affairs Office at 527-8481 local 6291 or 6292 or visit the PCG’s website www.coastguard.gov.ph.
Balilo admitted that while they are hiring new personnel they still lack people to perform all their functions. The agency needs at least 10,000 new workers.
There are currently less than 6,000 PCG officers and personnel, which is insufficient to cover the more than 7,107 islands in the country.
“There is still a big requirement. We hope our number would reach 10,000 so there would be a semblance that all the personnel needed by our detachments and districts would be completed,” added Balilo.
Aside from their traditional functions of maritime search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, maritime safety such as operating lighthouses, maritime environment protection and maritime security, the PCG has taken on additional responsibility.
“The functions of the PCG have increased. Before we were just sea-based, now we are also land-based when it comes to rescue. We also have missions at the West Philippine Sea, on the security aspect of the oil exploration at the Malampaya (natural gas project off Palawan),” the PCG official added.
The PCG ships have maintained Philippine presence at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal from April to June 15 this year since Chinese vessels started the siege in the disputed area.
The PCG is still waiting for instructions if they would return to the shoal.
The Philippines has been engaged in a standoff with China over Panatag Shoal, a rich fishing ground in the West Philippine Sea near Masinloc, Zambales.
The PCG has also been deputized by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to conduct enforcement operations.