The National Coast Watch Center at Philippine Coast Guard Headquarters in Manila was formally inaugurated last week, April 28. The center will coordinate and implement the whole of government efforts to protect the Philippine national interests against security threats, enforce national sovereignty and sovereign rights, and fulfill international responsibilities and obligations throughout the maritime jurisdiction of the country.
Establishment of the NCWC will promote maritime safety, enforce maritime laws, protect the marine environment and contribute to economic development.
“It shall be equipped with the needed capabilities to achieve maritime situational awareness, coordinated inter-agency response, and disposition in accordance with the rule of law. This will be done in phases until full-mission capability is achieved,” said Undersecretary Jose Luis M Alano, NCWC Secretariat. The center is on its initial phase.
The government of United States provided $20 million for the said center.
“Maritime domain awareness is crucial for the Philippines as it increases its abilities to thwart smuggling, illegal fishing, other criminal activities as well as improving defense capacity,” the US Embassy in Manila said.
US firm Raytheon won the contract in August 2013 to design and construct the National Coast Watch Center. The contract included support integration of data from various agencies into the NCWC; and provide acquisition, installation and training on an automatic identification system as well as radio communications for the Government of the Philippines.
The NCWC is the first Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) project of Raytheon in Southeast Asia.