Sulu Sea Security and the New Coast Guard Base in Zamboanga City's West Coast

The Philippine Coast Guard presently undertakes its own modernization program aside from the ones in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) where its highlights include new vessels such as the Parola-class MRRVs or the Multi-Role Response Vessels. Aside from that, there are also other interesting developments especially the ones situated near the notorious Sulu Sea.

A Philippine Coast Guard Parola-class vessel BRP Tubbataha, the lead ship.
Providing maritime security is indeed an essential thing for an archipelagic nation like the Philippines to have where livelihood, peace, and economic progress lies to the geographical setup that it obtains at present. Talking about maritime security, it is the role of both the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard to protect the waters and coastline that correlates to the nation's sovereignty.

In order to attain or improve the capabilities of upholding their respective mandates, both the Philippine Navy and the Coast Guard are modernizing its equipment as well as facilities where the primary aim is to deter any threats at sea that may hamper national security and economic progress.

And this is what is the Coast Guard aims to have especially on the construction of its bases for Southern Negros, Catanduanes, Siargao, and Zamboanga. Out of these four places that a Coast Guard bases will be built, the one from Zamboanga City is somewhat interesting where its proximity to the Sulu Sea makes maritime security in the area better. According to the report given by the Manila Bulletin, this Coast Guard base will be built in Zamboanga's Economic Zone Authority complex or ZamboEcozone where this area in itself is intended for economic development which is vital to the region and of the nation's progress.

This Php168 million development will cater modern facilities for the Coast Guard with an additional Php19 million to be used for having sophisticated, state-of-the-art equipment such as radar station and communication facilities as well as a finger wharf for Philippine Coast Guard vessels such as the Parola-class MRRVs to dock (see photo above). Given these details, the capabilities given is an improvement in terms of protecting the area specifically the Sulu Sea which in itself is infested with transiting insurgents and pirates that targets large vessels that may hamper the development needs of Zamboanga City, the Philippines, and its neighbors where it will affect the operations and the economics considering that the ZamboEcozone is specifically created for that matter.

With the correlation of Sulu Sea Security and those of the Coast Guard's development of its base on an Economic Zone estate, here are the things that might have come more interesting as security and progress are interrelated by that manner that the lives of local citizens or say, the whole nation will be affected, either in a direct or an indirect way.

The main office of Zamboanga Economic Zone Authority.
Via Wikimedia Commons.
As interesting as the nature of the news itself, it might as well be a better thing to know with regards to the organizations and parties involved as well as the areas, proximities, projects and other things that will give this project value and significance especially in terms of security and economic progress.

First, it is worthy to know about the location where the base will be built. Case in note folks, this does not pertain to any Operational Security attributes considering that news outlets disclose it publicly and its intended location is also known. Now, it is being said that the new Coast Guard base in Zamboanga will be constructed within the Zamboanga Economic Zone Authority which lies 22kms Northwest away from the City Center to the West Coast Barangay of Talisayan, in its sitio named San Ramon.
Click to enlarge the file. Source
As pointed on the map, this area faces Basilan Strait in the south while facing the Sulu Sea in it's West and Northwest where from there alone gives us an idea how vital it may be having a base in the location considering the dire situation that hampers economic progress that badly needs the solution.

To recall things up, the Sulu Sea is indeed a problem among the countries Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia where at one point in time, their respective armed forces are conducting patrols in the area where the threats of terrorism and piracy even require these nations to inter-operate each other in order to further secure this porous border that badly needs more security. More security in the sense that any piracy encounters at sea will deter more and eventually, making the Sulu Sea less dangerous place than it is at present.

(See more: The Trilateral Sulu Sea Air Patrols and the Maritime Patrol Capabilities)

And to further connect this to the intended mandate of the Zamboanga City Economic Zone Authority, it aspires to be the hub of trade and business opportunities where it seeks investors to pour in their resources and eventually, flourish the needs of the citizens of the nation especially on this Southwestern part of the Philippines. 

Let us take for instance this Private-Public Partnership (PPP) project of the ZamboEcozone called "San Ramon Newport Project" which is one of the essentials for the eventual economic growth of Zamboanga City, the island of Mindanao, and of course, the Philippines. Its aim as the world-class economic zone will not be possible without securing maritime security or maritime domain awareness especially on the threats that the murky Sulu Sea waters obtain. 

So, having a sophisticated Philippine Coast Guard base assigned in the area, complete with radar stations and communication sets as well as a port area for its ships to dock provides the solution in which eventually, the waters will be safe for merchant ships to sail across without any worries of any threats that lie ahead.

Aside from the merchant and commercial ships that will once dock at the future San Ramon Newport at completion, local industries that rely on maritime resources such as the sardines will also benefit where its effect on industry growth further defines the City's title as the Sardines Capital of the Philippines

The industry comprises a number of Canning factories in the area, notably in the West Coast of the city near the Economic Zone. A number of sardine brands may have its way originated from Zamboanga City, which gives an idea of how large is the impact the industry has among Filipinos as well as its importance of feeding families of those who rely on maritime-based livelihood. 

With the new base being in the materialization phase, these fishing vessels will be secure in the sense that marine companies will catch more fish which in turn gives the livelihood to the locals and feed the industry which supplies the demand of Sardines in the country and abroad. Add to that the economic effects of it where it may go as vibrant as the trade that the Zamboanga Economic Zone Authority may provide as the years go by.

And now to the technology that the Coast Guard will have in this new base. Given the reports, it will be provided with radar stations capable of detecting objects covering swathes of territory which may include portions, if not all of the Sulu Sea. 

The nature of radar sensors that the Philippine Coast Guard will be using, given its existing system of radar stations and communication centers across the country, will be more of a Vessel Traffic Management System or VTMS which is a sea version of Air Traffic Control radars designed for navigational guidance and detection of vessels that are sailing in the sea that is as appropriate with San Ramon Newport also being built in the area. These things will be enhanced further with Japan building more Coast Guard Radar Stations in Sulu and Celebes Seas that also goes in line with this prospect of improving Maritime Security and Domain Awareness in the area concerned.

These sets of programs on capability enhancements such as building more bases, facility improvements, procurement of additional vessels, and recruitment of personnel shows the determination of the Philippine Coast Guard where, like its counterparts in the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines under the Defense Department, are in an effort to boost, enhance, and improve its present capabilities where the primary aims are to have a stronger, more firm, and a secured nation that paves growth and development across the country for the citizens to cherish and appreciate. 

Hence, building bases and radar stations are as essential as purchasing of vessels and more personnel recruitments wherein the case of Multi-role response vessels, seven out of ten units are already delivered with the BRP Cape San Agustin (MRRV-4408) being the latest vessel to be in the Coast Guard fleet.


As the whole nation progress throughout time, the number of opportunities will increase especially in terms of trade. And having businesses have factors that cover national and maritime security issues which affect economic growth across neighboring nations.

Alongside with the fact Zamboanga City being the center of industry lenient on marine products such as Sardines, this enhancement of capabilities of the Philippine Coast Guard will also cover vessels at sea that are gathering marine resources in which it is beneficial to the local industry that relies on marine resources wherein turn helps the economy of Zamboanga City as well as those of the Philippines in the sense that it also indirectly provides the food security in terms of marine resources. With fishing and commercial vessels safer, this may eventually lead to the growth that locals might aspire as well as this may pave way for more economic benefits which laborers may finally have something to bring home for their families to feed, enjoy and live comfortably.

Hence, this portion of the Coast Guard Modernization is as important as other base projects, purchase of vessels like the Multi-Role Response Vessels such as the Parola-class patrol boats and recruitments of aspirants in which they desire to serve for the nation in a way that providing Maritime Domain Awareness and Security is their thing that grows economies and benefits the masses.

As of this date of posting, there are no updates yet with regards to recruitment for the Coast Guard except the June 03-04 PCGABT exam. For those who miss the results of the November 2017 exam, the details can be seen here. Check the official Philippine Coast Guard website for recruitment updates as well as our Facebook page at the times that we post updates about it. Thank you.


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Anonymous said...

Bro Rules Of Survival Legends:

Alam mo ba na ito ay isang military at defense-based na blog site at hindi isang outlet for celebrities? Di nababagay yung mga komento mo dito. Kung gusto mong mag-contribute, intindihin o mag-bigay ng ideya na may kinalaman sa hukbong sandatahan. Mas nababagay yan sa ibang site na celebrity yung specialization nila.

Anonymouse said...

To answer your question:

1. No. This is a defense-oriented website specialized on military and defense issues. Nothing more, nothing less.

2. That one is a fake news. One of those alleged already spoke out.

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Anonymous said...

PLA familiarizing and getting aquainted with In Philippine waters...A problem with the government that needs to act very calculately balancing the relations with China and the national interest and security which is at stake...Glad to have a president like duterte.Keep praying to maintain composure in dealing with issues like this one...While the president is busy and preoccupied on how to improve the maritime defense capabilities of the navy and the armed forces in general,..the philippine airports is slowly modernizing there technology and help track planes entering Philippine airspace..hope they can

Norman L. Ocampo said...

In a few more years the Philippine Coast Guard will eclipse the Philippine Navy in terms of having more capable and modern floating assets, with the BRP Gabriela Silang a latest addition to its growing inventories and the 2 incoming 94 meter Kunigami class patrol ship that perspective will becoming a reality, and the latest delivery of 2 Airbus H-145 Helicopters, life is becoming more easier for the PCG personnel.

Pitz Orpiano said...

Well that may be likely the case as the Philippine Coast Guard have a perks of a civilian organization that may get deals done. With the pace they take as opposed to the ones that the Philippine Navy currently takes then this prospect really do stand a chance.

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