Former coast guard chief Garcia to lead National Coast Watch Council Secretariat
MANILA, Philippines – The former commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard, Joel Garcia, has been appointed executive director of the National Coast Watch Council Secretariat.
Garcia's appointment order from Malacañang, signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, was handed down on June 3, two days since he retired from the Coast Guard on June 1.
Before becoming Coast Guard chief in October 2019, Garcia was the executive director of the National Coast Watch Center, the nerve center of the country's maritime law enforcement operations.
The National Coast Watch Center is supervised by the National Coast Watch Council headed by the executive secretary. The council is assisted by the National Coast Watch Council Secretariat, which Garcia has been tasked to lead.
The secretariat "provides technical and administrative support to the Council and makes sure that all of the strategic and policy directions of the Council are made and heard," according to the National Coast Watch System website.
During Garcia's stint as Coast Guard chief, he welcomed the chief of the China Coast Guard (CCG) during a visit to Manila in January. Garcia then said diplomacy with his counterparts was the only way forward amid China's expansionism in the West Philippine Sea.
The CCG is largely responsible for wielding Chinese control in the West Philippine Sea, especially in blockading Panatag or Scarborough Shoal from Filipino fishermen.
Garcia replaced Jose Luis Alano, former Navy chief, as head of the National Coast Watch Council Secretariat.
Alano was flag officer-in-command of the Philippine Navy from December 2012 to May 2014.
Vice Admiral George Ursabia Jr replaced Garcia as Coast Guard commandant on June 1. – Rappler.com