THE Indian government is offering the Philippines at least seven helicopters that will be used for the rescue and humanitarian efforts of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) during disasters in the country.
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said that India’s offer to provide helicopters to the PCG will be a big help to the Philippine government’s efforts to build up the country’s capabilities in terms of rescue and humanitarian efforts.
The President added that it will also be a big contribution for PCG’s maritime operations.
“We’re trying to build up our capacity – our capabilities in terms of our coast guard, in terms of our – of course, the search and rescue is always the primary consideration,” President Marcos said.
“As you heard the news, there is a continuing problem really that we have to deal with and we have to increase our capabilities,” the President added.
President Marcos made the remarks during the courtesy call of Indian Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Shambhu Kumaran, last week where he discussed the continuing efforts to strengthen the bilateral relations between the Philippines and India.
For his part, Kumaran said that there are already ongoing talks between the Indian government, the PCG and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the supply of seven helicopters for the agency’s maritime search and rescue operations and humanitarian services.
The PCG is an attached agency of the DOTr.
“The discussion is going on very well. The Coast Guard is very interested – they’ve flown the helicopter … I would request your consideration because that would be a very positive [program],” Kumaran told President Marcos.
Kumaran said that the helicopters that will be provided to the PCG are built for India’s Navy and Coast Guard that can be used for more active security operations that can carry more people and load.
“So, these [seven helicopters] is really an optimal solution, given the changing requirements for the Philippine Coast Guard to play a more active role and its security,” Kumaran added.
President Marcos said that he will discuss India’s offer to the PCG with DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista.