THE United Filipino Seafarers (UFS) is elated, as they send their utmost approbation and support to the newly-installed Philippine Coast Guard Commandant, Vice Admiral Joel S. Garcia, PhD, HD, AL-HAJ.
VADM Garcia was chosen by the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to be the next commandant of the PCG, replacing retired PCG commandant, Admiral Elson Hermogino.
The new PCG chief Garcia was formally installed by Transportation Secretary Art Tugade during the Change of Command Ceremony at the Bonifacio Naval Station in Taguig City, Tuesday, October 22.
“Congratulations to my protegee and an old friend, na nakasama ko noong bago pa lang ang UFS noong 1994. Magkasama kami noong Lt. Junior Grade pa lang siya at siya ang PIO ng Philippine Coast Guard noon. Sa panahong Iyon, wala pang computer ang opisina ng PIO ng PCG. Bulok pa ang mga barko ng PCG. Naghihingi pa ng krudo sa Philippine Navy para lang makabiyahe ang mga barko nila. Inaabot kami ng alas 5 ng umaga noon upang makasamuha lang namin ang mga media,” said UFS President Engr. Nelson Ramirez, nostalgic of his good old days with VADM Garcia.
Garcia was among the five shortlisted senior officials of the PCG to replace Hermogino, besting other contenders namely Rear Admiral Leopoldo Larroya, PCG deputy commandant for operations; Rear Admiral Jorge Ursabia, Commander of Marine Environmental Protection Command of the PCG; Rear Admiral Lyndon La Torre, PCG Commander on Internal Affairs Service; and Rear Admiral Joselito De La Cruz, Commander of Maritime Security, PCG.
Vice Admiral Garcia is a graduate of the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy and a license master mariner. He is the current Executive Director of the National Coast Watch Center (NCWC), under the Office of the President; and the Chairperson of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Governing Council, based in Singapore.
He earned his Masters of Science degree in Maritime Safety Administration from the World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmo, Sweden and Masters in Shipping Management from the Philippine Merchant Academy (PMMA).
With earnestness in his studies, Vice Admiral Garcia earned his Doctors degree in Philosophy in Public Administration from Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST) and conferred a Doctors degree in Humanities (Honoris Causa) by the Sulu State College for his humanitarian services. Likewise, he is a professor in Maritime Administration and Environmental Economics subjects in the PMMA Graduate School.
Moreover, Vice Admiral Garcia served as the Chairman of the Committee on Islamic Religious Studies and at the same time a member of the Technical Panels in Humanities and Maritime Education respectively, of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) from 2003-2010.
Vice Admiral Garcia commanded capital ships from the navy and the coast guard, held key positions at the headquarters and likewise led four coast guard districts, two functional commands and two major support commands.
“The Command is very thankful to the President for choosing a visionary leader who cares for the welfare of his subordinates and is passionate in accomplishing the PCG’s mandates,” PCG Spokesperson Captain Armando Balilo said.
Captain Balilo said that the PCG is also grateful to the outgoing Commandant, Admiral Hermogino, for he steered the organization in achieving great feats towards the advancement of the Command. Admiral Hermogino has truly served his entire military service with selfless devotion for the benefit of the Filipino nation. ###