The new Philippine Coast Guard district commander of Southern Visayas, covering Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor yesterday announced plans to strengthen manpower and assets.
Commodore Tito Alvin Andal said, during his visit to Bacolod yesterday, that they are eyeing two radar stations, one currently being built in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental, and the other to be established at the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corporation port.
“A radar station is very important especially in the transit of our vessels plying in these areas. Because if we have radar station, we don’t need to just deploy and deploy boats to do patrols, we will save resources because we will have the capability to see passing sea vessels from a distance,” Andal said.
The radar stations will be linked to the coast guard system at the PCG main office, and they will have the capability to see the real-time situation and scenario on those areas, he said.
Along with the radar stations, the PCG-Southern Visayas is also planning to put up an operations center.
“Hopefully within the year, we’ll see how the radars function,” said Andal, who assumed as head of the 13th coast guard district effective May 15 but had to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine when he arrived in the province.
Andal, 48, is a graduate of Philippine Military Academy, Class 1994, and is from Lipa City, Batangas.
He said additional K-9 units, including those for drug detection, and coast guard personnel are also being eyed to augment the workforce of PCG-Southern Visayas, that Andal admitted is undermanned.
He said they are in the process of establishing a Coast Guard District building in Barangay Calumangan, Bago City in Negros Occidental, where a lot was already donated and the bidding is ongoing.
Lt. Comm. Jansen Benjamin, PCG-Negros Occidental head, said the building in Bago will serve as headquarters of PCG-Southern Visayas, its district commander, and the K-9 assets.
The PCG Training Center in Hinobaan, Negros Occidental, is operational with 835 trainees for Special Operations Group currently undergoing training, Benjamin said.
Andal said they are planning to expand the center in Hinobaan, that will house the future recruits of PCG and can accommodate about a thousand trainees.*
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