MANILA–A total of 513 lighthouses across the country will undergo repair this year to ensure the safe navigation of ships and fishing boats in the country’s numerous waterways, the Philippine Coast Guard said.
At the same time, PCG commandant Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo said that 43 other lighthouses that are not operational will be revived.
Due to the agency’s perennial lack of funds and personnel, the 19th-century lighthouses in the Philippines have rapidly deteriorated.
In a report, Tamayo said that with the repairs and upgrades last year, the overall operational efficiency of lighthouses improved from 85 percent during the first half of the year to 92 percent in the second semester.
This year, he said the Coast Guard aims to improve the overall lighthouse operational efficiency to at least 95 percent and with the agency’s increased 2011 budget, it has every chance of achieving this.
The Coast Guard’s budget was increased from P2 billion in 2010 to P3 billion this year. The agency, however, has many other priorities such as the acquisition of new vessels and aircraft for patrol and rescue missions and the recruitment of 1,000 new personnel in the next two years.
Most of the lighthouses, usually charged by solar power, are not manned 24/7. While many have timers and automatically turn on at night or when the skies turn dark, others have to be manually turned on by a PCG civilian employee.