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Philippines: President Aquino Recommends to Congress Budget Increase for PCG for 2011
Source: balita.ph
Source Date: Saturday, September 18, 2010
Focus: ICT for MDGs
Country: Philippines
Created: Sep 19, 2010

MANILA, Sept. 17 — President Benigno S. Aquino III has recommended to Congress the increase of the budget for maritime search and rescue capability build-up of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in the proposed government national expenditure program for 2011.

In his Budget Call to Congress, the President proposed a P1.6-billion allotment for maritime search and rescue activities of the PCG to include the acquisition of three rescue helicopters.

On top of the presidential recommendation, PCG has expressed optimism over the annual increase in the agency's proposed budget.

PCG Comptroller Commander Robert Patrimomio said that based on the figures released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), PCG will get a 48 percent increase in its 2011 budget.

This includes an increase in the salaries of personnel under the Standardization Law and the recruitment of additional 500 personnel. Capital outlay is increased by 78.5 percent.

Lt. Commander Arman Balilo said that an additional P376.578 million has been earmarked by the Department of Transportation and Communications for installation of new lighthouses in remote fishing communities nationwide.

DOTC has tasked the PCG to implement the creation of buoy base in Romblon and Mactan in Cebu and to install navigation aids at the vicinity of San Juanito Straits in Leyte.

Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved the budget of the DOTC.

Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo, PCG commandant, expressed his gratitude to the President for the agency's budget increase. He said that the PCG, as a multi-mission agency under the Philippine Coast Guard Law of 2009, has been empowered to address the various issues affecting the maritime environment to include security, safety, marine environmental protection and search and rescue.

He cited that the Philippines has 36,000 kilometers of coastline and with coastal communities nationwide depending on the vast resources of the sea.

"Ninety percent of our domestic trade is being transported by commercial vessels and the country is also visited by at least 20 typhoons every year. The budget increase is a big boost to our administrative and operational capabilities," Tamayo said.

He also disclosed that the agency is also giving priority to Coast Guard's program relating to the effects of environmental degradation brought about by climate change.

The PCG has been in the forefront of water search and rescue. For the past two months, it had shared and conducted its expertise in waterborne rescue to other government agencies, local government units and private organizations.
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