President Duterte praised the work of Commandant Vice Admiral Leopoldo Laroya of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) at the donning and oath-taking ceremony held at the PCG Auxiliary (PCGA) last Tuesday, Nov. 22 in General Santos City.
“Congratulations, sir, sa promotion mo. Ang ganda ng Coast Guard ngayon, under (DOTr secretary) Art Tugade,” Duterte said.
Tugade, who heads the Department of Transportation, was also present during the ceremony, as well as Senator Bong Go and Laroya’s wife Rowena. Laroya was promoted to a higher rank of Coast Guard Admiral following the promotion order approved by the President Nov. 5.
Prior to his promotion, Laroya handled different important positions, including Deputy Commandant for Operations, Commander of the Maritime Safety Services Command, Coast Guard Education, Training and Doctrine Command, as well as Maritime Security and Law Enforcement Command.
He also served as District Commander of PCG Districts in Western Visayas, Northwestern Luzon, Southwestern Mindanao, the NCR and Central Luzon command, and in Bicol.
For his part, Tugade said it was an honor for him to recommend the promotion of Laroya as Admiral.
“Ginusto ko na pumunta dito upang bigyang dangal at karangalan ang aking kaibigan na si Commandant Leopoldo Laroya. Naisip ko na kung sa araw na ito, siya ay bibiyayaan ng kanyang karagdagang ‘estrelya’ sabi ko, dapat lang na pumunta ako doon upang bigyang dangal at karangalan ang kanyang promosyon,” said Tugade.
“Nagpapasalamat din ako kay Commandant Leo Laroya. Siya ho ang isang Commandant na tumulong sa akin na magbigay-buhay, magbigay-patotoo sa kagustuhan namin ni Admiral Ursabia na palaguin yung Philippine Auxiliary of the Philippine Coast Guard, lalo’t higit sa tinatawag na shoreline.”
Tugade said that the DOTr target for the Coast Guard is to improve its membership, which currently stands at 21,000 – a big improvement from about 6,000 back in 2016.
“Sabi namin sakto na ba ‘yan? Sabi namin tama na ba ‘yan? Sabi ni Laroya… Sabi ni Ursabia, dapat palakihin pa natin. Kaya nga ba’t sa hanay ng Philippine Coast Guard, hangarin at hangarin nila na palaguin ang Philippine Coast Guard, hindi manatiling 21,000,” said Tugade.
“Sana ‘ho pagkatapos ng taon na ito, makamtan natin yung 23,000 at bago magtapos ang termino ng ating mahal na Pangulo, abutin ng tinatawag na 30,000.”