GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 22 November) – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has enlisted some 257 community stakeholders here to help protect the coastal areas and the marine environment in Sarangani Bay.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade personally presided Monday afternoon the oath-taking and the acceptance of the newly appointed members of the PCG coastal community auxiliary from various barangays in the city.
The event, which was held in the Coast Guard Socsargen station at the Makar Wharf here, was joined by top PCG officials led by its commandant, Admiral Leopoldo Laroya.
Tugade said the mobilization of new PCG auxiliary members complements the government’s continuing efforts to ensure the “safety and security” of the Philippine seas and its 14,000 coastal communities.
He said they play a vital supporting role in the operations of the PCG enlisted personnel deployed in the area.
“We are an archipelago so it is important that we further strengthen our PCG auxiliary so we can expand and build up our safety and security, cleanliness and anti-lawlessness efforts in our seas,” he said in his speech.
Tugade urged the newly appointed auxiliary members here to commit and do their best efforts in carrying out the mandates and mission of the PCG, which is an attached agency of the DOTr.
He specifically cited the promotion of safety of life and property at sea, protection of the marine environment, and conducting search and rescue operations.
Capt. Rejard Marfe, commander of the Coast Guard District Southern Mindanao, said the coastal community auxiliary members are composed of fishermen, boat owners, community leaders and other members of the city’s coastal communities.
He said they are also tasked to monitor and report illegal maritime activities in their areas and other parts of the Sarangani Bay.
They will be trained and equipped to respond to maritime emergencies and disasters in the nearby coastal waters, he said.
“They will also serve as implementers of sustainable livelihood programs in their respective communities or barangays,” Marfe said.
Tugade said they will continue to expand the “auxiliary movement” to help further strengthen the PCG, which has now around 21,000 enlisted personnel.
He said the number of PCG personnel significantly increased from just over 6,400 four years ago.
“That is still not enough so we’ll continue to make it bigger, hopefully to 23,000 before the end of the year and up to 30,000 by the end of President (Rodrigo) Duterte’s term,” he said. (MindaNews)