US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Deputy Commandant for Administration Vice Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan inaugurated on September 11, 2023, the PCG’s new P250 million ($4.5 million) training center funded by the US government.

The Specialized Education and Technical Building in Balagtas, Bulacan was built to expand the technical education of personnel responsible for maintaining the PCG’s rapidly expanding vessel fleet.

It houses 16 classrooms and laboratory spaces that can simultaneously accommodate up to 200 students.

The facility will enable the PCG to replicate classroom and hands-on courses on vessel operations and engineering attended by over 250 PCG students at US Coast Guard facilities since 2017.

The completion of the Specialized Education and Technical Building marks the third and largest phase of a training center development program for the PCG jointly funded by the US Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, US Department of Defense, and US Global Security Contingency Fund.

The US government previously funded the construction of an outboard motor training center and barracks in 2019 and an additional barracks that increased student housing capacity to nearly 200 personnel in 2022.

“This building, and the training it will facilitate, marks an important advance in the Philippine Coast Guard’s ability to safely operate and maintain PCG assets that preserve maritime safety, protect the marine environment, enforce maritime laws, and defend Philippine sovereign rights in the waters around the Philippines, including in the West Philippine Sea,” Carlson said in her remarks. “The United States stands with the Coast Guard as you defend Philippine sovereign rights and uphold the rules-based international order.”

“The building serves as an important instrument for the enhancement of the capabilities of our PCG sailors,” Gavan said. “This facility will henceforth be the foundation of this oldest coast guard in this part of the world, to serve as an inspiration of excellence in this region.”

The US Coast Guard and the PCG will continue to expand their cooperation by launching a range of course offerings over the next two years. (PR)