5 senior officers vie for top PH Coast Guard post

Five senior officials of the Philippine Coast Guard are included in the list of the possible replacement of Coast Guard commandant, Admiral Leopoldo V. Laroya, whose mandatory retirement age is on Thursday, Feb. 10.

President Duterte is expected to name Laroya's replacement from Vice Admiral Eduardo D. Fabricante, Vice Admiral Oscar C. Endona Jr., Vice Admiral Artemio M. Abu, Vice Admiral Rolando Lizor N. Punzalan and Rear Admiral Ronnie Gil L Gavan.

All the contenders are graduates of the Philippine Military Academy: Fabricante from Class of 1989, Endona Jr. from Class of 1990, Abu and Punzalan are both from Class of 1992, and Gavan from Class of 1993.

Fabricante is the current PCG Deputy Commandant for Operations and the most senior among the five recommended flag rank officers, while Endona serves as the PCG Deputy Commandant for Administration and former Task Force Commander of the PCG Task Force Pagsasanay.

Abu, on the other hand, is the PCG Commander of the Maritime Safety Services Command (MSSC) and the Task Force Commander of the PCG Task Force Kaligtasan sa Karagatan.

Punzalan is the current Commander of the Marine Environmental Protection Command (MEPCOM) and the Task Force Commander of Task Force Bayanihan for Returning Overseas Filipinos (TFB-ROF), while Admiral Gavan is designated as the Commander of the Maritime Security and Law Enforcement Command (MARSLEC) and the Task Force Commander of the PCG Task Force Kalinga and the PCG Task Force Pagsasanay.

Laroya has served the country for more than 38 years, and on his retirement he helped in the modernization of the Coast Guard.

He further strengthened the PCG’s bilateral relationship with the Japanese government, highlighted by the inauguration of the two 97-meter multi-role response vessels (MRRVs) in Japan and the joint maritime security and maritime law enforcement exercises of the PCG with the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) in Sibutu Passage, Tawi-Tawi in November last year.

Under his watch, several Coast Guard assets and infrastructure were also inaugurated, including the newest air asset of the PCG Aviation Force, the Cessna Grand Caravan Ex aircraft – PCG 2081; the Headquarters of the PCG District Western Visayas in Iloilo City; PCG Special Operations Force Boat Support Facility in Zamboanga City; Coast Guard Boat House in Surigao City; and the PCG Satellite Training Institute at the Coast Guard Base Taguig.