New Coast Guard chief named

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    PRESIDENT Duterte has designated a well-rounded officer, Vice Adm. Joel Garcia, as commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard in place of retiring Adm. Elson Hermogino.

    Garcia, the No. 2 man of the PCG as deputy commandant for administration, is due to assume his post tomorrow when Hermogino reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56.
    Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and concurrent presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Garcia’s appointment paper was signed on October 21.

    “We are confident that the incoming Commandant, a man of vast knowledge, competence and integrity, would continue to lead and advance the PCG to greater heights,” he also said.

    Garcia bested four other senior officers who were recommended by the PCG a few weeks ago to the President as potential successors of Hermogino, who assumed the top PCG post in January last year.

    The four are deputy commandant for operations Rear Adm. Leopoldo Larroya, Marine Environmental Protection Command chief Rear Adm. Jorge Ursabia, Internal Affairs Service chief Rear Adm. Lyndon La Torre, and Maritime Security Command chief Rear Adm. Joselito dela Cruz.

    PCG spokesman Capt Armand Balilo said the designation of Garcia, a product of the Philippine Merchant Academy Class of 1986, as the 28th PCG commandant was signed by the President on Monday.

    Garcia is concurrent executive director of the National Coast Watch Center under the Office of the President and chairman of the Singapore-based Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Governing Council.

    A licensed mariner, Garcia earned his Masters of Science degree in Maritime Safety Administration from the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden and master in Shipping Management from the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy in Zambales.

    Garcia earned his doctors degree in Philosophy in Public Administration from Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology and conferred an honorary doctor’s degree in Humanities by the Sulu State College “for his humanitarian services.”

    Garcia is also a professor in Maritime Administration and Environmental Economics subjects in the PMMA Graduate School.

    Garcia has served as chairman of the Committee on Islamic Religious Studies and member of the Technical Panels in Humanities and Maritime Education of the Commission on Higher Education from 2003 to 2010.

    Garcia has commanded capital ships and held key positions at the PCG headquarters. He has headed four coast guard districts, two functional commands and two major support commands. – With Jocelyn Montemayor