This article is organised as follows:
- Part 01: Background to the Philippine Coast Guard Special Operations Force (CGSOF).
- Part 02: Organisation of the CGSOF.
- Part 03: Miscellaneous.
PART ONE: BACKGROUND
This article provides an overview of the Philippine Coast Guard Special Operations Force (CGSOF), a unit of the Philippines Coast Guard (PCG).
The PCG is an armed and uniformed service tasked primarily with enforcing laws within Philippine waters, conducting maritime security operations, safeguarding life and property at sea, and protecting marine environment and resources; similar to coast guards around the world. The PCG also serves as an attached service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in wartime. In peacetime it is an agency attached to the Department of Transportation; although it used to be under the AFP within the Philippine Navy.
The CGSOF is also known as the Coast Guard Special Operation Group (PCGSOG) (Naval Today, 2017).
Part One of this article looks at women and the CGSOF, then discusses the difference between tier 1 and tier 2 forces and highlights the methods of entry. It then outlines the roles and tasks of the CGSOF before finally providing a brief history on its origins. Part Two looks at the organisation of the CGSOF, identifies some key personalities, before moving on to outline the various SOF units. Part Three outlines the training courses open to potential and veteran CGSOF members. Part Four looks at mascots and badges of the CGSOF. Finally, Part Five provides some useful links and identifies other articles the reader may find useful.
The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the Philippine Coast Guard Special Operations Force.
1.2 Women and the CGSOF
Unsure if women can join.
1.3 Tier 1 and Tier 2 Special Forces
The CGSOF does not form part of the APF Special Operations Command and is not considered a Special Operations Force (SOF) unit, although it is considered an elite unit within the Philippines.
Some units are referred to as ‘Tier 1’ SF units because they are the units usually tasked with direct action. Other SOF are referred to as ‘Tier 2’ units as they, usually, fulfil a supporting role for the Tier 1 units.
1.4 Method of Entry
Civilians cannot join the CGSOF directly, one must join the PCG first and then apply.
1.5 Roles and Tasks
The role of the Philippine Coast Guard Special Operations Force includes a number of specialist tasks, for example:
- Underwater operations;
- Counter-terrorism (CT); and
- Other law enforcement operations.
1.6 Brief History
The CGSOF was established on 29 November 1982 (PCG, 2018b). In August 2016, it was reported that the CGOSF would double in size (UNTV, 2016).
PART TWO: ORGANISATION OF THE CGSOF
This part of the article outlines the organisation of the CGSOF, including its commander and the various units and sub-units within it.
2.1 Commander CGSOF
The Philippine Coast Guard Special Operations Force is led by a Captain (OF-5), based at the headquarters (HQ) in Coast Guard Base Farola, Muelle dela Industria, Farola Compound, Binodo, Manila.
2.2 Units of the CGSOF
“Operational Support of 13 [Special Operations Units] SOU and 4 sub units.” (PCG, 2016b, p.40 of 2).
2.3 Training Courses for CGSOF
There are a number of courses available, which are delivered at the CGSOF Training Facility Annex in Nakar, Quezon (PCG, 2016a & 2018a):
- 6-month Coast Guard Special Operations Course (CGSOC).
- The course consists of four phases:
- Phase 01 (Motivation): physical conditioning and the 5-day ‘Hell Week’.
- Phase 02 (SCUBA): Occupational SCUBA and technical diving.
- Phase 03 (Tactics): Hydrographical reconnaissance; demolition; air-to-ground operations; small unit tactics; and marksmanship.
- Phase 04 (Non-Academic): physical training and development; aptitude; and peer rating.
- The course consists of four phases:
- Basic Underwater Special Operations Course (BUSOC).
- 3-month Counter-Terrorism Course (CTC).
- Pre-requisite is the BUSOC.
- Includes: gun safety; close quarter combat; immediate action drill; small unit tactics; visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS); combat swimming; air-to-ground mission planning; crisis management; tactical combat casualty care (TCCC); land navigation; weaponry; basic rifle marksmanship; and explosive ordnance reconnaissance agent.
PART THREE: MISCELLANEOUS
3.0 Useful Publications
3.1 Useful Links
- Philippine Coast Guard: http://www.coastguard.gov.ph/.
Naval Today. (2017) US Navy, Philippine Coast Guard in Diving Drills off Manila. Available from World Wide Web: https://navaltoday.com/2017/08/08/us-navy-philippine-coast-guard-in-diving-drills-off-manila/. [Accessed: 13 September, 2019].
PCG (Philippine Coast Guard). (2016a) PCG trains 57 new Special Operations recruit. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.coastguard.gov.ph/index.php/11-news/1327-philippine-coast-guard-special-operations-group-conducts-training. [Accessed: 13 September, 2019].
PCG (Philippine Coast Guard). (2016b) Philippine Coast Guard Annual Procurement Plan for CY-2016. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.gppb.gov.ph/gppb-admin/monitoring/app/APP16-PCG.pdf. [Accessed: 13 September, 2019].
PCG (Philippine Coast Guard). (2018a) 66 PCG, PNP MARIG Candidates undergo Special Operations Training. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.coastguard.gov.ph/index.php/11-news/2710-66-pcg-pnp-marig-candidates-undergo-special-operations-training. [Accessed: 13 September, 2019].
PCG (Philippine Coast Guard). (2018b) Coast Guard Special Operations Force recognizes exemplary members as it turns 46. Posted 30 November 2018. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.facebook.com/philcoastguardofficialpage/posts/coast-guard-special-operations-force-recognizes-exemplary-members-as-it-turns-46/254179778584017/. [Accessed: 13 September, 2019].
UNTV Public Service Channel. (2016) PCG to Double Number of Special Operations Group Members. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt2cjH3u-Rs. [Accessed: 13 September, 2019].