Above: U.S. Ambassador MaryKay Carlson and Philippine Coast Guard Deputy Commandant for Administration Vice Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan lead the ribbon-cutting of the PCG’s new Specialized Education and Technical Building in Balagtas, Bulacan.
Below: (Seated from left) U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs Manila Director Kate Riche, U.S. Ambassador MaryKay Carlson, and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Deputy Commandant for Administration Vice Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan are joined by U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Director of International Affairs Holly Haverstick and representatives from the USCG, PCG, and the U.S. Navy.
Manila, September 13, 2023—On September 11, U.S. Ambassador MaryKay Carlson and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Deputy Commandant for Administration Vice Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan inaugurated the PCG’s new Php250 million ($4.5 million) training center funded by the U.S. government to expand the technical education of personnel responsible for maintaining the PCG’s rapidly expanding vessel fleet.
The Specialized Education and Technical Building in Balagtas, Bulacan 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 U.S. 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 U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, U.S. Department of Defense, and U.S. Global Security Contingency Fund. The U.S. 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, mark 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,” Ambassador 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,” Vice Admiral 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 U.S. Coast Guard and the PCG will continue to expand their cooperation by launching a range of course offerings over the next two years.