Duterte wants more aircraft for Coast Guard to improve maritime security

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 4) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday ordered the acquisition of three more aircraft for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), citing the need to fortify maritime security and improve search and rescue operations. He gave the directive to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade during the inauguration of the PCG Kalayaan Station and the seaport expansion project in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. “What is very urgent for you, ‘yung eroplano mo na ‘yung Cessna, kulang ‘yun, ‘yung isa,” Duterte said, addressing the PCG. “I’m ordering Secretary Tugade to buy mga tatlong eroplano pa, so apat, okay na ‘yan.”

[Translation: What is very urgent for you, your one Cessna aircraft, that’s not enough. I’m ordering Secretary Tugade to buy three more airplanes, for a total of four, which would be enough.] In his speech, the President noted that the coast guard has been expanding its presence in the West Philippine Sea “to safeguard” Filipino fishermen’s livelihood amid the long-standing maritime dispute with China.

“As President, I assure you that we will uphold our territorial integrity no matter what the circumstance is,” added Duterte, who has been criticized for his apparent soft stance on Chinese incursions in Philippine waters.

Duterte also pointed out that buying more aircraft would enhance the uniformed service’s capability to respond to emergency situations, such as marine incidents.

The PCG earlier said it is recruiting additional personnel and preparing more assets to strengthen its functions.

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