Bohol Third District Rep. Alexie Tutor is seeking the establishment of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) bases in 19 key areas across the archipelago and the technological modernization of the agency to broaden its reach and deepen its monitoring capabilities.
Tutor proposed through House Bill No. 7965, which will amend the Philippine Coast Guard Act of 2009, to equip the PCG with unmanned drones, microsatellites and smart buoys.
The bill also seeks the establishment of “at least two” PCG bases in 19 major island and island groups in the country including Bohol.
“These steps would enable the PCG to expand and deepen its coverage of strategic locations nationwide,” Tutor said.
The first-term congresswoman who is a member of the House of Representatives’ appropriations committee also intends to add more teeth to maritime laws through the proposed measure.
“Enforcement of our maritime laws can be more effective with the gradual addition of PCG field offices, bases, and facilities at a pace that is prudent and realistically affordable through the national budget and official development assistance,” she added.
Under the bill, the following islands and island groups will have at least two bases manned by PCG personnel and fully provided with needed equipment, support services and vessels as determined by the PCG admiral and the secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOTr):
- Batanes group of Islands
- Kalayaan Island Group
- the Tawi-Tawi Islands
- Basilan Islands
- Dinagat Islands
- Polilio Islands
- Catanduanes Island
- Samar Island; Leyte Island
- Bohol Island Province
- Guimaras Island Province
- Occidental Mindoro and adjacent islands
- Oriental Mindoro and adjacent islands
- Panay Island; Siquijor Island
- Marinduque Island Province; Romblon Island Province
- Masbate Island Province
- Camiguin Island Province
“The bill authorized the secretary of transportation to approve the basic complement of Coast Guard Resources program of the major islands and island groups,” Tutor said.
The proposed measure also mandates the DOTr, in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Information and Communication Technology, Department of National Defense, and the Philippine Space Agency “to cause the creation, deployment, management, and operation of maritime microsatellites for specific multiple-purpose mission tasking consistent with the missions, roles, powers, and functions of the Philippine Coast Guard.” (RT)