By Betheena Unite
Vice Admiral Joel Garcia will take the helm of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) starting Thursday after President Duterte appointed him to succeed Admiral Elson Hermogino who bows out of service Tuesday.
Garcia, the current Coast Guard’s deputy commandant for Administration, received his appointment on Monday, becoming PCG’s 28th commandant.
Garcia is a graduate of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy and a licensed master mariner. He is the current executive director of the National Coast Watch Center (NCWC), under the Office of the President; and the chairperson of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Governing Council, based in Singapore.
The incoming commandant also served as the Coast Guard’s interim commandant for a year until January 2018 when Hermogino assumed the top post.
“The Command is very thankful to the President for choosing a visionary leader who cares for the welfare of his subordinates and is passionate in accomplishing the PCG’s mandates,” PCG spokesman Captain Armando Balilo said.
Balilo added that the organization, an attached agency of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), is also grateful for the outgoing commandant.
“He steered the organization in achieving great feats towards the advancement of the command. Admiral Hermogino has truly served his entire military service with selfless devotion for the benefit of the Filipino nation,” Balilo said.
The Palace meanwhile expressed confidence in the incoming PCG Commandant.
“We are confident that the incoming Commandant, a man of vast knowledge, competence, and integrity, would continue to lead and advance the PCG to greater heights,” Panelo said.
Garcia earned his Masters of Science degree in Maritime Safety Administration from the World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmo, Sweden and Masters in Shipping Management from the Philippine Merchant Academy (PMMA).
He earned his doctorate degree in Philosophy in Public Administration from Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST) and was conferred a doctorate degree in Humanities (Honoris Causa) by the Sulu State College for his humanitarian services. Likewise, he is a professor in Maritime Administration and Environmental Economics subjects in the PMMA Graduate School.
Moreover, the new commandant also served as the chairman of the Committee on Islamic Religious Studies and a member of the Technical Panels in Humanities and Maritime Education respectively, of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) from 2003-2010.
He also commanded capital ships from the navy and the coast guard, held key positions at the headquarters and led four coast guard districts — two functional commands and two major support commands.
Hermogino, on the other hand, retires after 38 years of service both in the PCG and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). (With a report from Genalyn Kabiling)