Coast Guard eyes HQ on Negros island

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BACOLOD CITY: The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) wants to put up its own headquarters in the Negros Island Region, its officer-in-charge Joel Garcia said.

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“Geographically, if you look at the nautical maps, Negros straddles Sulu Sea, which is facing Mindanao. If we are able to put up Coast Guard stations [on Negros Island]where we can place our ships and fast boats, we can easily react to threats, not only terrorism [threats]but also environmental threats that may pose hazard to the marine environment in Sulu area,” Garcia, who paid a courtesy call to Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr., said.

Aside from a regional office, he added, they are also planning to put up a training center and additional stations and sub-stations, particularly in southern Negros Occidental.

“We believe Negros is a very important island because of its proximity to Mindanao, [and it is]facing the Sulu Sea,” Garcia said.

He added that Negros Island is a “good place to enhance our Coast Guard system” that will provide support to neighboring regions in the Visayas–Western, Central and Eastern.

“Aside from providing Coast Guard presence in ports, we’re looking forward to deploy personnel to tourist areas especially in Sipalay City and Cauayan, located along the stretch of a coastal area, and Siaton in Negros Oriental,” Garcia said.

The Department of Budget and Management has approved the PCG’s request for additional budget to allow them to hire 4,000 additional personnel this year and more than 5,000 in 2018.

Eugene Y. Adiong

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