What is the Meaning of PCG – Philippine Coast Guard

Monitoring the coastal areas is essential to ensure the country’s safety, security, and protection. Through maritime security, the government can prevent illegal fishing, piracy, robbery, terrorism, pollution, and trafficking of people and goods. That’s why Congress enacted the Philippine Coast Guard Law to establish an agency that handles all maritime-related responsibilities. To learn more about the Philippine Coast Guard, read on as we share its history, mandate, and responsibilities.

Established through the Republic Act 5173, the Philippine Coast Guard is the Philippine Navy’s major unit under a flag officer, focusing on maritime security. The Philippine Congress enacted the law to strengthen the country’s coastal security. Today, PCG owns advanced technologies, state-of-the-art vessels, and reliable personnel working for the country and its people.

meaning of philippine coast guard

What is the Philippine Coast Guard

The Philippine Coast Guard, or PCG, is the country’s oldest and sole humanitarian armed service. It’s a vital agency responsible and mandated to conduct maritime search and rescue. Like Coast Guard units worldwide, PCG is responsible for enforcing and implementing all national and international maritime-related tasks, including law enforcement, safety, and security. In addition, the agency enforces environmental protection laws supporting the Maritime Transportation Network goals, national security, and the Philippines’ economic growth.

PCG is also considered the 3rd uniformed armed service in the Philippines, attached to the Department of Transportation (DOTr). In the event of war, PCG will also provide its service to the country’s Department of National Defense. At present, PCG keeps its presence all over the Philippine archipelago. The PCG has 13 districts, 44 stations, and over 199 sub-stations from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.


With its history dating back to the early 20th century, the PCG is considered the oldest of its kind in the country. Back then, the Coast Guards focused on protecting the country’s customs services, harbors, and coastlines. Over the years, PCG became a critical humanitarian armed service devoted to ensuring the Philippines’ maritime safety, security, and environmental protection.

On August 6, 1967, the Republic Act 5173, or the Philippine Coast Guard Law, was enacted by Congress, making PCG the Philippine Navy’s major unit. On October 10 of the same year, PCG was established and activated. When the Philippine Congress enacted the Republic Act 9993, or Coast Guard Law of 2009, the PCG received essential responsibility and authority to conduct preventive measures to ensure merchant vessels’ safety.

Moreover, the revised law strengthened the authority of PCG to face advanced challenges and growing requests for marine resources, climate change, and technological development. It also defined the purpose of the PCG as the leading maritime agency vital in establishing the nation.

philippine coast guard logo

Mandate & Functions

Under the Republic Act 9333, the PCG is responsible and authorized to conduct disaster response, environmental protection, maritime law enforcement, maritime safety, maritime security, and search and rescue operations. Also, the agency implements regulations to conform with relevant national laws and international treaties and conventions the Philippines has agreed on. With its vision to be a first-class defender of the sea, the PCG is committed to the following:

Disaster Response

Since PCG is a humanitarian armed service, the agency responds during natural disasters and emergencies throughout the coastal areas of the Philippines. PCG will collaborate with the concerned agencies to efficiently respond to disasters. The agency shall conduct rescue and evacuation operations and give medical assistance and relief goods to those affected by natural disasters.

Environmental Protection

Apart from performing disaster response, PCG is also mandated to protect the country’s coastal areas environment. It involves implementing environmental regulations, advocating viable maritime practices, and responding to marine pollution issues, such as oil spills. Also, the agency ensures to preserve and protect the country’s marine biodiversity and resources.

Maritime Law Enforcement

The PCG is also responsible for enforcing the Philippines’ maritime laws and regulations. It involves working closely with concerned law enforcement agencies committed to fight against illegal activities, like human trafficking, smuggling, and piracy. The agency will inspect and monitor if vessels comply with immigration and customs laws, safety standards, and environmental regulations.

Maritime Safety

Considering the overall objective of PCG is to ensure that the Philippine waters are safe, the agency advocates for the vessels and their crew to comply with safety standards. It’s also involved in performing safety drills and regular inspections. Furthermore, the agency will provide maritime safety education and training. It aims to advance the country’s infrastructure, such as communication systems and navigational aids, ensuring efficient and safe operations.

As the maritime traffic increases in the Philippines, the PCG will perform regular patrols in its coastal areas and assist with emergencies. Therefore, the agency helps ensure the safety of marine resources at all times.

Maritime Security

Aside from that, PCG maintains the country’s maritime security by ensuring the safety and defense of the Philippines’ waters. The agency coordinates with concerned agencies to defend the coastal areas. It prevents acts of maritime-related crimes that may threaten the nation’s security, such as piracy and terrorism.

Search and Rescue Operations

The primary function of PCG is to conduct search and rescue operations in coastal areas. The agency utilizes state-of-the-art vessels and modern technologies to prompt and effectively respond to search and rescue operations. It involves answering distress calls from distressed vessels and performing rescue operations in areas affected by floods and storms. PCG will also provide medical assistance if needed.

Organizational Structure

The organizational structure of PCG consists of two entities, namely Procter & Gamble and Philippine Coast Guard. A multinational consumer goods company, Procter & Gamble, focuses on a product-based structure in various categories, from beauty and health products to baby, feminine, and home care goods. Procter & Gamble business units have their own CEO and management team, creating and implementing product strategies. It has six (6) geographic divisions, supervising business operations worldwide.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Coast Guard is an agency enforcing maritime law, utilizing military structure for organizational means. This entity established various units based on their functions, including maritime safety services, maritime security services, marine environmental protection, financial management services, legal services, and internal affairs services. The units have their chief responsible for reporting to the Philippine Coast Guard commandant. Also, it has an attached group, the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA), which consists of volunteers who support PCG’s mission.

  • Commandant – is the highest ranking official in PCG, leading and controlling the agency’s personnel and operations.
  • Deputy Commandant for Administration – is tasked to manage the agency’s logistical support and administrative role.
  • Deputy Commandant for Mission Support – refers to the official responsible for providing essential assistance to allow the PCG to perform its mission competently, such as supervising the communications, information technology, and engineering roles.
  • Deputy Commandant for Operations – is the official responsible for supervising and managing the agency’s operational tasks, including maritime law enforcement, maritime security, environmental protection, disaster response, and search and rescue operations.
  • Districts and Units – the agency is divided into various districts and units throughout the country, such as the National Head Quarters, Coast Guard Air Group, Coast Guard Fleet, Coast Guard Ready Force, Coast Guard Medical Service, and Coast Guard Education and Training Command. These units have distinct functions and responsibilities to support the mission of PCG, allowing it to perform effectively.

How to Become a Philippine Coast Guard


For those who want to join the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), here are the qualifications to ensure the capability and competency of its members:


  • Must be a Filipino citizen with good moral character
  • Must be single between 21-24 years old
  • Height must be at least 5’0”
  • Must be a graduate of any four-year course with a valid professional license
  • Must be a Civil Service Eligible with an 82% or above rating
  • Must be physically and mentally fit to execute the duties of a Coast Guard officer
  • Must pass the PCG Aptitude Battery Test (personal characteristics and cognitive abilities assessment)


  • Must be a Filipino citizen with good moral character
  • Must be single between 21-24 years old
  • Height must be at least 5’0”
  • Must have completed at least 72 units in college or a senior high school and TESDA graduate
  • Must be physically and mentally fit to execute the duties of a Coast Guard personnel
  • Must pass the PCG Aptitude Battery Test (measures an individual’s abilities, cognitive, personality, and leadership capacity)


If you’re qualified to apply as a PCG officer or personnel, secure the following documentary requirements:

  • PCG ABT Application Form (download here)
  • Personal Information Sheet
  • PSA Birth Certificate
  • Transcript of Records (at least 72 units completed in college)
  • Diploma or TESDA Certificate

Prepare photocopies of the stated requirements before applying at the PCG recruitment center. Also, PCG may request additional documents based on the position you’re applying for. Thus, prepare the essential documents to avoid problems or delays with your application.

How to apply as a Philippine Coast Guard Member

Whether applying for an officer or non-officer position, the application should meet PCG qualifications.

  1. Complete the initial requirements.
  2. Submit the documentary requirements to any PCG recruitment center.
  3. Take the PCG Aptitude Battery Test (ABT).
  4. If you passed the PCG ABT, take the Physical Fitness Test.
  5. If physically and mentally fit, take the dental, medical, and neurological exams.
  6. Once you pass all exams and tests, take the final deliberation to determine if you qualify as a PCG trainee.
  7. If chosen as a PCG trainee, complete the oath-taking ceremony to become an official member of the Philippine Coast Guard.


With the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) humanitarian armed service, the country can strengthen its maritime defense and protect its marine resources and environment. The agency is also committed to ensuring the life and safety of all using the Philippine waters. It plays a vital role in protecting and defending the coastal areas in the Philippines, prepared to respond to natural disasters and emergencies. Therefore, the PCG and its loyal personnel are valuable for their dedication to serving the nation and its people.

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