Philippine Coast Guard to Deploy Drones to Boost Maritime Capabilities

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The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is planning the use of high-end drones to boost its capabilities and strengthen border security.

PCG spokesperson, Rear Admiral Armando Balilo, was quoted as saying by a local news agency that using drones could save the Coast Guard more time and fuel in the conduct of maritime patrols.

“ If we would have our way, all districts of the Philippine Coast Guards should have one drone each,” RAdm Balilo was quoted as saying.

He also gave a recap of the PCG’s trilateral maritime exercise with the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) in Mariveles, Bataan on June 1-7.

He said during the Kaagapay series of drills, the PCG learned that the USCG has a large drone that can conduct surveillance activities in surrounding waters.

The Kaagapay trilateral exercise between the coast guards of Philippines, United States and Japan was carried out on the early days of June.

The JCG is also using US-made surveillance drones.

 RAdm Balilo impressed on the use of the drone could help speeding up surveillance task in area of operations.

He acknowledged the drones’ cost-effectiveness would outweigh the procurement of vessels because of its unmanned operability and high-security features.

Balilo said the use of drones would make it easier to monitor the presence of foreign vessels and other unlawful maritime operations. This is more so as vessels at seas would be very busy with other missions.

However, the PCG has yet to include the planned purchase of drones in the list of equipment that would be procured amid the ongoing efforts to modernise the Coast Guard, he said.

Balilo, however, said several countries have expressed their intent to offer grants for the procurement of drones.

He expressed optimism that drones are the future of maritime patrol in the country.
“We have a big responsibility. We have to procure additional equipment to sustain our maritime domain awareness),” Balilo said. –shp/adj/pna (Image: USINDOPACOM)