Philippine Coast Guard

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Philippine Coast Guard
Tanod Baybayin ng Pilipinas
Coat of Arms of the Philippine Coast Guard
Founded October 7, 1901
Country Philippines
Type Coast Guard
Role Maritime Law enforcement, Border control
Part of Department of Transportation and Communications
Garrison/HQ Port Area, Manila
Motto "Saving Lives"
Mascot Dolphin "Kapitan Dolpino"
Commandant Admiral Rodolfo D. Isorena
Coast Guard patrol boat PCG Pampanga (SARV 003) in formation in the Celebes Sea during joint military exercises with the Philippine Navy with the United States Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy, July 2012
Rescue boat and personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary at the 2013 Paraw Regatta, Iloilo City
35 Meter Ilocos Norte Class BRP Nueva Vizcaya SARV-3502
Pump boat of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary at the 2013 Paraw Regatta, Iloilo City.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) (Filipino: Tanod Baybayin ng Pilipinas) is an armed and uniformed service tasked primarily with enforcing laws within Philippine waters, conducting maritime security operations, safeguarding life and property at sea, and protecting marine environment and resources; similar to coast guards around the world.

It is an agency attached to the Department of Transportation and Communications of the Philippines. It currently maintains a presence throughout the archipelago, with twelve Coast Guard Districts, fifty-four CG Stations and over one hundred ninety Coast Guard Sub-Stations, from Basco, Batanes to Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.[1]


The Philippine Coast Guard is the oldest and only humanitarian armed service in the Philippines. Its beginnings could be traced back to the early 20th century when coast guarding was related to the protection of the customs services of the country and in patrolling the coastlines and harbors.

When the Americans came in 1898, one of the first steps that the military government undertook was the reopening of the port and customs facilities of Manila. Soon after, the civilian Insular Government, through the Philippine Commission, enacted a law on 17 October 1901 that created the Bureau of Coast Guard and Transportation, which was placed under the Department of Commerce and Police. The Captain of the Port was designated as Bureau Director.

The lighthouse service was placed under the Bureau. In 1902, the Coast Guard fleet of 15 streamers from China and Japan was established and were assigned for the lighthouse service inspection trips of top government officials, for transport to Culion Island, for patrolling against illegal entry of aliens, and for troop movement of the Philippine Constabulary.

The Bureau of Coast Guard and Transportation was abolished on 26 October 1905 and the Bureau of Navigation took over its functions. The Bureau of Navigation was authorized to create a commissioned and enlisted service, and to adopt its own manual of court martial patterned after the US Navy.

Subsequently, however, the Bureau was also abolished on 19 December 1913 and the organization and its functions were transferred to the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Public Works until the establishment of the Commonwealth Government. After gaining independence from the United States, the Philippine government ceded some of the coast guard functions, such as the revenue cutter and lighthouse services, to the Philippine Naval Patrol, which eventually became the Philippine Navy. A Coast Guard unit was activated within the Philippine Navy to implement these functions.

On 6 August 1967, the Philippine Congress enacted Republic Act 5173 of the Philippine Coast Guard Law, which made the PCG a major unit of the Philippine Navy under a flag officer. The PCG was activated on 10 October 1967 and its coast guard functions were transferred from the navy.

The civilian nature of the PCG functions led to the separation of the Coast Guard from the Philippine Navy on 30 March 1998 by virtue of Executive Order 475 signed by President Fidel Ramos. It order effectively transferred the PCG from the Department of National Defense to the Office of the President, and eventually to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on 15 April 1998 by virtue of Executive Order 477.

These executive orders provided inter alia that the PCG shall continue to the agency primarily responsible for the promotion of safety of life and property at sea and the protection of the maritime environment as mandated under the Philippine Coast Guard Law and Presidential Decress 600, 601, 602, and 979, as a mended.

The transformation of the PCG into a non-military organization has a tremendous impact and significance. Its civilian character has allowed it to receive offers of vessels, equipment, technology, services, cooperation and other needed assistance from other countries, something which would not be readily offered to a military agency.

With enactment of Republic Act 9993, also known as the Coast Guard Law of 2009, as well as its implementing rules and regulations, the PCG has been vested with the necessary authority and responsibility to perform preventive measures in ensuring the safety of merchant vessels. The new law also strengthened PCG’s authority to meet new challenges and increasing demands for marine resources, technological advancement and climate change. Further, the law has defined the PCG’s rightful niche in the bureaucracy as the premier maritime agency and its vital role in nation building.


The Philippine Coast Guard's major command units include the Coast Guard Fleet (CGFLEET) [formerly known as the Coast Guard Operating Forces (CGOF)], the Maritime Security & Law Enforcement Command, Marine Environmental Protection Command (MEPCOM), Maritime Safety Services Command (MSSC) [formerly known as Aids to Navigation Command (ANC)], and the Coast Guard Education and Training Command (CGETC). Among said major units, the largest of which is the CGFLEET which has supervision over the Coast Guard Ready Force (Ships and other small crafts), Coast Guard Aviation Group and the Coast Guard Special Operations Group. The PCG used to be with the Armed Forces of the Philippines under the Philippine Navy before it was transferred to the Department of Transportation and Communication or the DOTC.

The PCG is considered as the third armed and uniformed service of the country primarily tasked with enforcing all applicable laws within the Philippine waters, conducting maritime security operations, safeguarding of life and property at sea and protecting the marine environment and resources.

Due to the M/V Super Ferry 14 bombing incident in 2004, the PCG activated the Task Force Sea Marshals a composite team from the PCG, AFP and Philippine National Police. These Sea Marshals ride on many passenger ferries traveling to and from Manila, and maintain a security presence aboard these ferries.

Coast Guard Air Group

The Coast Guard Air Group (CGAG) was formally activated on 18 May 1998 during the incumbency of Commodore Manuel I de Leon PCG as Commandant, Philippine Coast Guard. Accordingly, Commander Noel O Monte PCG was designated as its first Commander holding office at the former PADC Hangar Nr. 3, Domestic Airport Complex, Pasay City.

On 22 January 1999, after eight months of existence, CGAG acquired its first aircraft, a BN Islander from the Philippine National Oil Company – Energy Development Corporation (PNOC – EDC). After six months of intensive inspection and rehabilitation, it was commissioned into Coast Guard service on 26 June 1999 as PCG–251. On June 1999, the first helicopter, a MBB BO-105CB was acquired from PADC and commissioned with the tail number PCG–1636. Another aircraft, a Cessna 421B "Golden Eagle" was acquired without cost from the Bureau of Soils and Water Management sometime in the early part of 2000. However, due to budgetary constraints, the aircraft rehabilitation is not yet completed to date. In the same year, another BN Islander with the tail number PCG–684 was acquired. It was commissioned and activated on June 2002 after it underwent rehabilitation. On 30 March 2001, the helm of the CGAG was transferred to Captain Lino H Dabi PCG. In search of a bigger home for its growing inventory, on 21 November 2002, with the support of the SOTC, Pantaleon Alvarez, the Manila International Airport Authority allowed CGAG to occupy its present location. Extensive renovation work was undertaken to make the hangar suitable as the nerve center of all Coast Guard Air Operations. On 28 March 2003, the CGAG acquired another BO-105C helicopter from PADC, two aircraft carriers were commissioned into the service as PSN-234 and PCG–145, and PCG-192 during the Group’s 5th Founding Anniversary.

With the intense need to have the capability to extract survivors from water, the said helicopter was fitted with a rescue hoist through the courtesy of the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Another significant milestone unfolded in the history of the group when PCG leadership was turned over to Vice Admiral Arthur Gosingan PCG. Through the endorsement of the CGOF Commander, Rear Admiral Damian Carlos PCG in recognizing the importance of the air unit in coast guard operations and their outstanding accomplishments granted the aviators their most aspired yearning of their careers by approving the group’s position paper on the Command Pilot Rating. This enabled aviators to have an equal opportunity with officers that acquired a Command at a Sea Badge to assume positions of higher responsibilities in the Coast Guard hierarchy. Today, the mantle of CGAG was entrusted to Commodore Aaron T Reconquista PCG.

Special Operations Group

The Philippine Coast Guard's Special Operations Group (CGSOG) is the special forces unit of the Philippine Coast Guard. It performs underwater operations, domestic counter-terrorism and other law enforcement operations. Their notable accomplishments include the operations to the Laoag Air crash at Manila Bay the aftermath of the 2004 M/V Super Ferry 14 bombing and the Search and Recovery operations to the ill-fated M/V Princess of the Stars incident among others.[2]

Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary

The Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary is the civilian support group of the Philippine Coast Guard. Although a volunteer, civilian organization, the PCGA uses a military structure for organizational purposes. Like other volunteer sea rescue organizations around the world, it performs non-military and non-police activities in support of its national navy or coast guard. This endeavor includes search and rescue, environmental protection, disaster relief, community service, and marine safety.

Ships in service

Major naval assets

Class Photo Type Ships Origin Note
Search and Rescue Vessels
San Juan-class BRP EDSA II 56-meter Patrol Vessel BRP San Juan
BRP Pampanga
BRP Batangas
 Australia Built by Tenix. All vessels are equipped with helipad.[3]
Ilocos Norte-class BRP Romblon 35-meter Patrol Vessel BRP Ilocos Norte
BRP Nueva Vizcaya
BRP Romblon
BRP Davao del Norte
 Australia Built by Tenix.
Bessang Pass-class 44-meter Search-and-Rescue Vessel BRP Bessang Pass
BRP Tirad Pass
 Japan Built by Sumidagawa Shipyard. Ex-SAR 99 and SAR 100 acquired from Japan in 1977. Both vessels are currently non-operational[4]
Agusan-class 30-meter Large Patrol Craft BRP Palawan  United States Steel-hulled craft built under US military assistance programs. Assigned US PGM-series number while under construction. Transferred to PN upon completion. Currently non-operational, waiting for new gun coupling repairs.[4]
Support Ships
Corregidor-class Marine Accident Response / Buoy Tender BRP Corregidor  Japan Built by Niigata Engineering in Japan through a soft loan. Commissioned in 3 February 1998.[4]
Habagat-class Medium-size Ocean Tugboat BRP Habagat (TB-271)  Japan
Cabo Bojeador-class Buoy Tender BRP Cabo Bojeador
BRP Limasawa
 United States Built by Ingalls Shipbuilding. BRP Cabo Bojeador is an ex-US Army FS 203 and ex-Philippine Navy TK 46. BRP Limasawa is an ex-USCG Nettle WAK 169, ex-US Army FS 397 and ex-Philippine Navy TK 69. Both ships currently under repair.[4]
Kalinga-class BRP Kalinga Buoy Tender BRP Kalinga  United States Ex-USCG Balsam-class navigational aid tender, USCGC Redbud (WLB-398) built by Marine Iron and SB Corp. Refitted in Cavite Naval Yard in November 1995. Equipped with a helicopter platform and an ice-breaking bow.[4]
Patrol Craft
Swift-class Fast Patrol Craft (Swift boat) slow.jpg 19-meter Fast Patrol Craft Swift Mk. 1/Mk. 2: DF 300, DF 301, DF 302, DF 303, DF 307, DF 308, DF 309, DF 310, DF 311, DF 312, DF 313, DF 314, DF 315, DF 316
Swift Mk. 3: DF 318, DF 325, DF 326, DF 327, DF 328, DF 329, DF 330, DF 331, DF 332, DF 334, DF 347, DF 351, DF 352, DF 353, DF 354
 United States DFs 302 and 309 seeing limited operation. DFs 300, 303, 308, 314 currently non-operational.
De Havilland 9209-class Patrol Craft De Havilland 9209-class Patrol Craft 14-meter Inshore Patrol Vessel DF 330, DB 411, DB 413, DB 417, DB 419, DB 422, DB 426, DB 429, DB 431, DB 432, DB 433  Australia Built by De Havilland Marine. Eighty originally ordered by the Philippine Navy in August 1975, but of 25 hulls completed during 1975, 12 were destroyed by fire and the program was terminated. Since then, at least two others have been discarded.[4]
Coast Guard Cutter 103 type 12-meter Cutter CGC 30, CGC 32, CGC 103, CGC 110, CGC 115, CGC 128, CGC 129, CGC 130, CGC 132, CGC 133, CGC 134, CGC 135, CGC 136  United States Transferred from the US Navy. Used for harbor police work. One was stricken in 1994, CGCs 30, 32 and 128 currently non-operational.[4]

Minor naval assets

Type Photo # of Ships Origin Note
Aluminum V-shaped hull boat Bassboat2.jpg 300 From multiple suppliers Used in search-and-rescue and disaster response
Rigid-hulled inflatable boat 2011-09-25 Bonn DLRG Rettungsboot Cassius 01.JPG 81 From multiple suppliers Used in search-and-rescue and disaster response
Rubber boat Cruz Roja Gran Canaria 3541.JPG 50 From multiple suppliers Used in search-and-rescue and disaster response

Aircraft in service

Aircraft Photo Country of Origin Quantity Notes
Britten-Norman Islander Britten Norman Islander OLT.jpg  United Kingdom 2 Tail number: PCG–684, PCG-251
MBB Bo 105 Bölkow Bo 105 (aka).jpg  Germany 1 1 of 2 grounded [5] PCG–163 (with hoist) - grounded; PCG-1636 in service
Short C-23 Sherpa C-23A-1.jpg  United States 0 (+2) The US Army donated 4 units that are expected to arrive soon. The units are to be split between the Philippine Army and the Philippine Coast Guard.[6]

Recent acquisitions

Philippine Ports and Coast Guard Capability Development Project

The project aims to strengthen the Philippine Coast Guard’s capability to promote safety of life, protect the marine environment and enforce maritime laws through procurement of four brand new 24-meter patrol boats and one 82-meter patrol vessel.[7][8]

The budget from this project came from the loan balance of a French loan that financed the cancelled Greater Maritime Access Ports Project of the previous Philippine administration.[9]

Disaster Response Equipment for Philippine Coast Guard Project

The Project ensures that each of the Philippine Coast Guard's 12 Coast Guard District Headquarters will be assigned two Rubber Boats each for Rescue missions. Furthermore, all 63 Coast Guard Stations and the 237 Coast Guard Detachments will have one Aluminum Boat. Also, all 63 Coast Guard Stations will be equipped with one Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB). Other RHIBs and Rubber Boats will be assigned to PCG Special Units and Search and Rescue vessels.

All the 300 Aluminum Boats, 81 RHIBs and 50 Rubber Boats will be equipped with 2 units VHF handheld marine-type Radio, 2 units Operators' Life Vests, 6 units of Common Life Vests, 1 Megaphone and 4 units of Flares.[10]

It is projected to minimize the instances when PCG personnel borrowing boats from fishermen, or other private entities to perform their duties during emergencies. This resulted in delays in the PCG’s response time, making rescue operations less efficient.[11]

Under this same project but under a different public bidding document,[10] 15 units of M35 6×6 Trucks and 40 units rubber boats were purchased. 3 units of the trucks and all 40 rubber boat units are currently assigned with the National Headquarters of the PCG. The remaining 12 units of the M35 trucks are assigned to each of the 12 Coast Guard Districts. It is expected to further facilitate timely response to disaster situations.

Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project

The Project aims to strengthen and further develop the coast watch/patrol and search and rescue capabilities of Philippine Coast Guard by procuring additional patrol vessels. This will support the PCG in fulfilling its mandate and in complying with the international commitments of the Philippines on maritime safety, security and environmental protection. The vessels are to be deployed in ten (10) PCG Districts Manila, Tacloban, Zamboanga, Puerto Princesa, La Union, Iloilo, San Fernando (La Union), Davao, Legaspi and Cagayan de Oro.[12]

This JICA Project supports PCG, who is responsible of Maritime Safety, to enhance its capabilities to quickly and appropriately respond to coastal maritime incidents, such as search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, etc., by providing Multi-Role Responsive Vessels (MRRVs), thereby increasing the vessel/maritime area rate of each of the 12 districts. The Project is also in line with development policy of the Philippines and assistance strategy of Japan. Therefore, it is relevant that JICA supports the implementation of the Project.[13]

During Japan's Minister of Foreign Affairs visit to Philippines on January 2013, Minister Fumio Kishida underscored the role of Japan as the Philippines' strategic ally. In the conference, he stressed Japan would provide 10 patrol vessels to the Philippine Coast Guard on a loan basis.[14][15] Shinzo Abe confirmed that 10 patrol boats will be swiftly donated to the Coast Guard.[16] President Aquino and Prime Minister Abe witnessed the signing of a $187-million (18.732 billion yen) loan for the Philippines’ acquisition of multi-role response vessels to boost the capability of its coast guard to conduct maritime patrols.[17]

Maritime Disaster Response Helicopter Acquisition Project

The project involves the procurement of seven Maritime Disaster Response (MDR) helicopters for the Philippine Coast Guard to strengthen and expand their MDR capabilities during maritime incidents and natural disasters and calamities. The project will also involve the training of pilots and technical crew, procurement of mission equipment, procurement of maintenance tools and spare parts for five years, and the construction of hangars for the helicopters and offices for the pilots and technical crew.[18][19] It is being funded by the Credit Agricole of Germany.[20][21][22] The Eurocopter EC-145 is the front runner of the project.[23][24]

See also



  1. Mission - Pulse of the Maritime Environment · Philippine Coast Guard — News
  2. Number of missing passengers rises. Retrieved on June 21, 2007.
  3. "Status of the PCG Tenix boats". Retrieved 2011-01-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 "PCG Ships and Auxiliaries". Retrieved 3 May 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Phl beefing up sea patrol assets
  6. Michael Cohen and James Hardy (2015-03-04). "Philippines to get first C295 early". IHS Jane's. Retrieved 2015-03-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "NEDA BOARD APPROVES SIX PROJECTS ON INFRASTRUCTURE, EDUCATION & AGRICULTURE". 2013-06-27. Retrieved 2014-07-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "NEDA board approves 6 projects on infrastructure, education, and agriculture". Philippine Official Gazette. 2013-06-27. Retrieved 2014-07-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Calendar Year 2012 ODA Portfolio Review" (PDF). 2013-04-08. Retrieved 2014-07-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Disaster Response Equipment for Philippine Coast Guard Project" (PDF). Department of Transportation and Communications. 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2014-06-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "DOTC, PCG allocates another Php152M in addition to the earlier PhP521M purchase of Disaster Response Equipment" (PDF). Department of Transportation and Communications. 2012-09-07. Retrieved 2014-07-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "NEDA Official Development Assistance Projects' Status" (PDF). National Economic and Development Authority. 2010-03-01. Retrieved 2014-06-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)" (PDF). JICA. 2013-12-14. Retrieved 2014-06-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Acquisition of Multi-Role Response Vessels (MRRVs)". 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2012-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Budget for acquisition of Multi-Role Response Vessels (MRRVs)". 2012-11-29. Retrieved 2012-11-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "JICA and GOP sign agreement for ODA on maritime safety". Japan International Cooperation Agency. 2013-12-14. Retrieved 2014-07-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Philippine National Transport Plan Executive Summary". Department of Transportation and Communications. 2010-03-12. Retrieved 2014-06-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "PCG Planned Equipment Acquisitions". Retrieved 2010-01-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>