The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) continues to add to its growing personnel as it trains additional crew this year to expand its roster after Transportation Secretary Art Tugade initiated its modernization in 2016.

Now more than 22,000 strong, the PCG workforce is expected to grow over 24,000 this year as 1,757 individuals are expected to complete their training. The existing number of Coast Guard personnel has vastly increased at the start of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s administration six years ago with only 8,500 members, and a huge growth compared to measly 2,500 personnel in 1998.

Secretary Tugade has initiated the PCG’s modernization in terms of assets and personnel, including the strengthening of the Coast Guard workforce targeted to be 35,000 strong in the future.

“The Philippine Coast Guard today has flown high. We started with around 8,000 personnel. Now, we are going to have more than 22,000 members. I expect more. I want the PCG to have more members that’s why I want to have more auxiliaries,” Secretary Tugade said.

The PCG officers are composed of 878 females and 1,758 males, while Coast Guard non-officers are composed of 2,831 females and 16,923 males. For the PCG civilian composition, 163 are females and 58 are males.

Complementing the growth of the PCG workforce is the recruitment of members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary which is dedicated to upholding and carrying out the PCG’s mission of promoting the safety of life and property at sea, protecting the marine environment, and conducting humanitarian missions and disaster response.

Now totaling 19,767, the PCG Regular Auxiliarists are 19,510 while the PCG Executive Auxiliarists are 257, mostly composed of fishermen, boat owners and operators, and community leaders.

As a part of the Auxiliary Division of the PCG, Secretary Tugade said his co-Auxiliarists are part of nation-building, adding that they are partners in the fight against illegal shore activities.

PCG Commandant, CG Admiral Artemio M Abu, on the other hand, said that with a strong workforce, the organization is now more capable of performing its maritime-related mandates and conducting disaster response operations during calamities and amid a global health crisis.

Now, PCG personnel continue to serve as frontliners during rescue and relief operations, as well as health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.

"Your Coast Guard today, especially in this time of pandemic and during calamities, is seen anywhere and everywhere. Our men and women are deployed, not only in coastal areas, but also in airports, roads, and other transport hubs to ultimately uphold public health and safety," Admiral Abu said.