PCG Air Group currently operates Bo-105 helicopter and BN-2 Islander aircraft (all photos : PCGAG)
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will tap financial institutions to finance the acquisition of seven helicopters and additional infrastructure and equipment amounting to P5 billion.
Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Wilfredo D. Tamayo said at the sidelines of yesterday’s Maritime Forum that PCG’s new acquisition will help strengthen its capability to enforce its functions now that they already have the PCG Law or the Republic Act (RA) 9993.
Tamayo said the proposal to acquire new choppers is being reviewed by the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC).
The PCG hopes that NEDA would fast track the approval and realize the urgency to purchase in order to help save more lives in case of sea disasters.
"We had a meeting with the NEDA –ICC two weeks ago and I believe, we were able to justify why we need the aircraft," he said.
This project which requires funding of P5 billion will cover the acquisition of 7 choppers, spare parts and equipment, as well as training of pilots.
"We will build our hangars and we will have our new aircrafts stationed in Northern Luzon, Manila, Romblon, Mactan Lagindingan, Davao and Palawan," he said.With the huge investments needed, he said that the acquisition will be by phases and would take 1.5 to 2 years to complete.
"We are looking for the best package and the better loan interest to maximize our investments," he said, adding that the financial side of the project has not been finalized.
Tamayo earlier said that they will also need additional boats or vessels that can be used in search and rescue operations.
Coastguard also plans to augment its current workforce of 6,000 by at least 25,000 to ensure safety, being an archipelagic country with 36,000 kilometers of coastline and 5,000 coastal barangays and 60 coastal provinces.-