MANILA (UPDATE) — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) plans to buy drones to boost its operations, while some countries have already begun showing them prototypes, its spokesperson said on Saturday.
Rear Admiral Armand Balilo said some drone models were already being tested in their headquarters.
“Malalaking mga drones na kayang magpatrol instead of the vessel and the chopper na mauuna, ang pinauuna po nila ay drone kapag nag-o-operate sila against smuggling and drugs," said Balilo in a media forum in QC.
"Iyon po ang wala tayo na noong nakita namin ay talagang nainggit kami kasi malaking bagay ito, malaking tulong ito, imadyinin mo kapag nasa isang area kayo ng operations, mas mabilis na makakaikot iyong drone.”
Countries like Israel, Germany, Czech Republic, and Australia have so far offered drone technologies to the Coast Guard, Balilo told ABS-CBN News in a text message.
“May mga countries... na nag-offer sa atin... pagdating nito. Mayroon ding nag-offer na talagang… maraming nagpupunta sa Coast Guard para ituro sa amin ang operations nito,” he said.
“May mga bansang nag-offer. Alam ko mayroong nasa Coast Guard ngayon na may drones at may nag-aaral na Coast Guard personnel, sa Coast Guard aviation force, para sa pagpapalipad ng drones,” he added.
Asked when they plan to buy this, the spokesperson said, “sa lalong madaling panahon.” (The soonest possible time.)
While they hoped they would be able to buy at least 15 drones – one each for their districts – this would still depend on the government. They plan to get a drone capable of monitoring areas as far as 50 nautical miles as the drones will be used for the country's maritime domain awareness.
“May mga priorities kasi ang coast guard, ang kailangan natin ay floating assets, yun ang inuna namin, at may pag-aaral na pagdating sa drone at siguro mas nakikita natin ang pangangailangan at wisdom kung bakit kailangan natin ng shift sa operations sa mga drone,” said Balilo when asked why they were buying drones only at this time.
Aside from this, he added that the PCG is planning to buy a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to be able to help their operations.
“NDRRMC ang magtutulak, parang sila ang magiging sponsor sa budget,” he said.