Today, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade led the  commissioning of the Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) additional versatile asset of the agency—the Cessna Caravan 208 Aircraft (Multi-role Fixed Wing Aircraft), and unveiled the Kalayaan Station of the agency in Palawan.

During the event, President Duterte recognized the commitment and utmost efforts of the DOTr and the PCG to push for the realization of various transformational programs, that would buoy up the capability and capacity of the agency to fulfill its duties as the guardians of the country’s seas.

“As we bolster our connectivity in Palawan, we also look into the fortified maritime security in the area. I am glad to know that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) continue to be geared towards expanded presence in the West Philippine Sea and the Kalayaan Group, to safeguard Filipino fishermen who venture in the sea, for their daily livelihood,” President Duterte said.

For his part, Secretary Tugade underscored the roles of the newly-acquired air asset and the Kalayaan Station of the PCG, which are vital in boosting the safety and security of the province’s borders.

“Makikita ninyo yung ginawa ng Coast Guard sa Kalayaan Island, ‘yung facility na in-acquire ng PCG upang sa ganun magamit itong pasilidad na ito in the safety and security of our seas,” Secretary Tugade said.

Moreover, President Duterte ordered Secretary Tugade to acquire additional Cessna planes, which shall be deployed in other areas in the country to further intensify PCG’s capability in responding to disasters, such as during evacuation, relief, and search and rescue operations.

The newly-acquired air asset has the capability to immediately respond realtime and can conduct shore and offshore surveillance with its rugged utility and flexibility features, along with its powerful turboprop engine, and latest avionics suite.

Now that the aircraft has been officially commissioned, it will immediately be utilized for a wide array of missions, such as Search and Rescue, Maritime Patrol and Surveillance, and Air Ambulance utility roles, among others, in support of the economic and development efforts of the national government. The aircraft’s capability and efficiency will likewise be helpful in disaster management and in the prevailing pandemic where it can be used in the timely delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and test kits.

Meanwhile, the newly-constructed station houses the much-needed facilities to sustain the living conditions of the PCG personnel deployed in the island.

These projects form part of the PCG’s modernization efforts, in a bid to strengthen its capability and capacity to protect the country’s maritime borders, as well as provide the necessary humanitarian service to the Filipino people.