The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) commissioned its newest aerial asset, the multi-role fixed-wing aircraft Cessna Caravan 208, into duty at the Port of Puerto Princesa today, November 4.
The PCG, in a statement, said the aerial asset, called PCG 2081, will be utilized by the Coast Guard Aviation Force (CGAF) during surveillance and humanitarian missions in far-flung coastal communities and vicinity waters across the country.
“With a passenger capacity of 14 occupants, the PCG 2081 can adapt to a wide variety of missions through its powerful turboprop engine, improved graphical interface, powerful hardware, higher resolution display, and added functionality for situational awareness,” the PCG said.
Through the support of President Rodrigo Duterte and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Sec. Arthur Tugade, the national government allocated P250 million under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) FY 2019 for the procurement of the said aircraft that was part of the PCG’s Modernization Program.
On December 30, 2020, the Notice of Award (NOA) was given to Jet Aviation; a day later, the contract was released and signed. It was notarized on February 18, 2021, and on February 26, the Notice to Proceed (NTP) was signed and handed over to Jet Aviation. The manufacturing of the aircraft began on June 29, 2021.
Jet Aviation took delivery of a Cessna Caravan 208 from Textron Aviation Factory in Wichita, Kansas, United States of America. Additionally, the acquisition package included full training for four PCG pilots and six flight crew members at the Textron Aviation Factory to ensure they could operate and maintain the aircraft efficiently and effectively.
On August 10, 2021, the PCG said the aerial asset finally arrived in Manila. It then underwent a series of test flights starting on September 19, 2021, and on October 14, 2021, when the aircraft smoothly passed all flight parameters – completing the procurement process.
PCG commandant Vice Admiral Leopoldo Laroya said the PCG 2081 will be mainly utilized in the conduct of search and rescue (SAR) missions, aeromedical evacuations, as well as maritime patrol and surveillance operations in the West Philippine Sea, Kalayaan Island Group, and Southern Philippines.
It will also take part in the safe and swift transport of COVID-19 vaccines in far-flung coastal communities in support of the inoculation drive of the national government amid the global pandemic.
New Coast Guard Station Kalayaan
Moreover, the PCG has formally inaugurated the new Coast Guard Station Kalayaan located on Pag-asa Island, Kalayaan in the West Philippine Sea.
In partnership with PCG Auxiliary (PCGA), the PCG upgraded the old station in the town to improve the living condition of Coast Guard personnel deployed on Pag-asa and to boost its monitoring capabilities in support of the whole-of-government efforts in the West Philippine Sea, as it will serve as the operations headquarters in the area.
Despite the unpredictable weather and sea conditions during loading, unloading, and ship-to-shore operations from Manila to Pag-asa Island, the Coast Guard Station Kalayaan was completed in just 30 days or from 11 July to 11 August 2021.
The PCGA donated four brand new units of modular pre-fabricated containers that served as the main structures of the station, as well as Php 683,945 worth of construction materials for the said infrastructure project.
DOTr Secretary Tugade congratulated the PCG for accomplishing significant milestones on modernization despite non-stop operations to uphold the health and safety of Filipinos amid the ongoing pandemic.
“When we talk about providing comfort and convenience to the Filipino people, we mean giving them an improved quality of life. Kung maayos at napakikinabangan ang mga imprastruktura sa lalawigan, kung may mga inisyatibo na magbabantay at magpo-protekta sa seguridad ng mamamayan, magbubunga ito ng trabaho, ng pamumuhunan, at ng pagsigla ng ekonomiya,” Secretary Tugade said.
“This is how we fulfill the marching order of our beloved President to provide the Filipino people a comfortable and convenient life,” he added.