ADMIRAL GEORGE VILLAREAL URSABIA JR O-9714 PCG
The 27th Commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard is a genuine son of South Cotabato. He was born on September 8, 1965 in Polomolok, South Cotabato, where he grew up and now a permanent resident at the said place. He finished his basic education at Dole Philippines School in Polomolok, South Cotabato, where he graduated with honors in 1983. Right after high school, he proceeded to pursue a career in the armed service and entered the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) where he earned his degree in Bachelor of Science and graduated in the upper percentile of their class in 1987.
To advance his knowledge and skills, he later pursued Master of Science Degree in Maritime Safety and Environmental Protection (MSc, MSEP) as a scholar of Sasakawa Foundation, in Japan. In 1999, he eventually earned the said post- graduate degree from the World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmo, Sweden.
Admiral Ursabia underwent various extensive military and Coast Guard trainings both here and abroad. He attended two Port State Control Officer’s Courses in Yokohama, Japan in 1995 and in 2002. He is also a graduate of the “Comprehensive Crisis Management Course” in 2010 from the Asia-Pacific Center for Stategic Studies in Hawaii, USA. Furthermore, he has represented the Philippines as either head or as a member of various delegations attending local and foreign meetings, conferences and fora, especially at IMO in London
In his more than 37 years of active service, he held various positions with major responsibility in the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). As a junior officer, he had the opportunity to be exposed to security, intelligence and counter-intelligence assignments. He was a Field Station Commander for Intelligence in Davao, Zamboanga, Cebu and Manila. As a middle grade officer, he commanded two (2) Coast Guard Stations (CGS) in Region XII: CGS Sarangani and CGS General Santos.
From 2004 to 2006, he served as one of the “think –tanks” and strategists of the Philippine Coast Guard by heading the National Headquarters Office for Maritime Safety Affairs (better known as “CG-8”). The most challenging task he handled as the head of CG-8 was the PCG’s involvement in the implementation of the International Ship Port Security (ISPS) Code, which was tagged as an offshoot of the 9/11 incident in the United States. Alongside his duties as the head of CG-8, he also led the Secretariat of the Liaison Office for Legislative Affairs (LOLA) — the office that was responsible for crafting the Coast Guard Bill, which was later on passed as “Coast Guard Law of 2009”, the new enabling law of the Philippine Coast Guard after separating from the Armed Forces of the Philippines in 1998.
As a seasoned mariner with seven (7) years sea experience, his sea duty tour includes junior billets served onboard the Philippine Coast Guard ship "Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas" (BRP) BADJAO, a lighthouse tender. He did his Executive Officer tour on board BRP BESANG PASS, a Search and Rescue vessel. His colorful sea duty later included his command of three (3) (BFAR) 30-meter patrol boats, namely: MCS-3008, MCS-3001 and MCS-3002.
He eventually commanded three (3) Coast Guard SAR vessels: BRP ROMBLON (SARV-3503), BRP DAVAO DEL NORTE (SARV-3504) and BRP PAMPANGA (SARV-003), where he completed his command at sea billet. After earning his “Command-at-Sea Badge,” he was once again given the privilege to skipper BRP CORREGIDOR (AE-891), in order to participate in the 2009 Maritime Pollution Exercise in Balikpapan, Indonesia. The said vessel is a 56-meter lighthouse/buoy tender which is one of the capital ships of the PCG.
Prior to his assumption to the highest post in the organization, he was designated as the Commander of Coast Guard Marine Environmental Protection Command (MEPCOM), a functional command that oversees the environmental protection mandate of the Philippine Coast Guard.
Furthermore, he has commanded four (4) Coast Guard Districts from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and MIMAROPA Region. His last assignment as District Commander was at Coast Guard District Central Visayas (CGDCV) where he was in-charge of overseeing the safety, security and environmental protection of the waters surrounding the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor and Negros Oriental: specifically, Tañon Strait, Cebu Strait, Visayan Sea, Bohol Sea and part of Sulu Sea. Coast Guard District Palawan (covering Palawan Province to include West Philippine Sea) from January 2015- March 2016; Coast Guard District Southeastern Mindanao (covering Region 11, Parts of Region 12 and CARAGA) from March 2012- January 2015; and Coast Guard District Northern Luzon (covering Regions 1 & 2) from October 2010- February 2012. Earlier, before becoming a District Commander, he was also assigned as Commander of Coast Guard Ready Force, a special command of the PCG responsible for managing the readiness of all PCG floating assets, from September 2008 – September 2010.
His crowded breastplate of awards is a testament to the many challenges he has successfully accomplished. On top of his countless medals, awards, decorations and commendations, he is a recipient of two (2) Coast Guard Legion of Honor (Degree of Maginoo); nine (9) Distinguished Service Medals; four (4) Coast Guard Outstanding Achievement Medals; two (2) Coast Guard Bronze Cross Medals; One (1) Military Bronze Cross Medal; fifteen (15) Coast Guard Merit Medals; and seven (7) Military Merit Medals, among others.
In 2013, the Office of the Civil Defense awarded him the “Bakas Parangal ng Kadakilaan” in recognition of the PCG’s relief and rehabilitation efforts in the areas in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley seriously affected by the onslaught of Tropical Storm “PABLO” in December 2012. He was also recognized for leading the massive maritime search and rescue operation in the eastern seaboard of Davao Oriental for the 300 missing fishermen, who were reported to have been hit by the TS “PABLO”. One of his civic recognitions came directly from ArcBishop Romulo G. Valles, D.D. in grateful appreciation for his significant role in responsively facilitating the transport of relief goods gathered by the Archdiocese of Davao from Sasa Wharf to Tagbilaran City for the earthquake victims in Bohol.
Aside from being a maritime rescuer and an environmentalist, he is also a recognized educator. Admiral Ursabia is known as the “Father” of the Coast Guard Officer’s Course (CGOC) and the Coast Guardsman’s Course (CGMC) — both are entry training courses of the PCG for those who want to become commissioned officers and non-officers in the Philippine Coast Guard, respectively. These academic curricula and training programs, which he conceptualized, developed and first implemented in 2000, are his brainchild and are still being used until now.
Moreover, in the recent fight against the COVID-19, he is the Commander of Task Group Laban COVID-19 (Water Cluster) under the Joint Task Force COVID Shield of the PNP, AFP, and PCG. The said Task Group is responsible in the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Metro Manila, by implementing the mandatory health protocols to the crewmembers of cargo vessels and fishing boats in order to deter, detect and hold the entry of persons via sea transport. During his stint as its Commander, he instituted various precautionary measures that will ensure compliance to biosafety protocols being implemented by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (LDRRM) counterparts.
George as he is fondly called by many is married to former Miss Agnes Chamos, from La Trinidad, Benguet. Their union is blessed with two (2) children: Germaine Angela, a graduate of the College of Medicine, University of the Philippines-Manila and now a licensed Physician taking up the 4-yr OB-Gyne residency program at UP-PGH ; and Gerard Andrew, who after receiving his BS Math degree at UP-Baguio in 2012 also received a BS degree in Computer Engineering at UP-Diliman, and is now employed with M-TEC Japan in Nagasaki, Japan.
ADMIRAL GEORGE V URSABIA JR PCG is an officer and a gentleman, a leader, a manager, an environmentalist, a maritime rescuer, a maritime law enforcer, a maritime safety expert, a security and intelligence specialist, a mariner, an educator, a crisis manager, a strategist, a visionary, a family man, and above all, a God-fearing individual whose heart beats for the service of the Filipino people. To God be all the glory.