Tour Of Duty
Learn about the Coast Guard Chief Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo And His Outstanding Tour Of Duty. Know everything about Wilfredo Tamayo, his tour of duty and other great men as well.
- Written by tour of duty officer
The past and recent sea and disasters in the ACR of Coast Guard Station Surigao, particularly Dinagat-Surigao and approaches, and the less visibility of search and rescue units or at times the delayed search and rescue operations by concerned agencies not to mention its limited assets and capability, prompted the need for an organization with local SEARCH AND RESCUE capability in the area. The idea was to have a search and rescue organization capable of rescue operations that would react first pending the arrival of assets from the government. Such idea was conceptualized between the coastguard in Surigao and the Surigao-Dinagat passenger motorbanca association where its members are boat owners and operators in the area. With series of talks conducted for the idea, and finalization, the Surigao-Dinagat searchand rescue fleet was established through MOA between the organizers and the PCG which was held on 11 December 2008. The signatories were ADMIRAL Wilfredo D Tamayo PCG, Commandant PCG and ENGR ROLDAN E LISONDRA representing Surigao Del Norte Motorized Banca Operators Association, Inc. with eighty four (84) motor banca members.
Then in 2008, Surigao-Dinagat SAR fleet with more or less 100 members is composed of the motorbanca association plying the area and approaches including Siargao islands. This SAR fleet was conceived and organized by CGS Surigao in October 2008 in anticipation of the typhoon season that generally comes in the last and first quarter of the year, Its major purpose is to organize a group of motorboats volunteers-operators to be trained and ultimately be tapped during SAR operations
- Written by tour of duty officer
We invite you to visit Coast Guard District Northern Luzon for yourself which sits on a vast 3,000 sqm land in the middle of a cove lined by lengthy mile of a fine beach sand and the quiet, pristine waters of the South China Sea. A stunning million-dollar view of the sunset is reward in itself after a long hot day.
It is home to 184 CG personnel and is located in San Fernando City, La Union. One can virtually find everything here from banks to resorts, malls, food chains, commercial establishments and entertainment facilities.
Coast Guard working in this District is dictated by the geography of Regions 1 and 2 which it covers. It guards the seven (7) provinces of Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Nort, Cagayan, Batanes and Isabela. Natural features of these provinces are a common coastline which is lined by cities and municipalities. Many coastal dwellers are naturally fisher folks or have resorts as their means of earning a living. Unfortunately year-round unpredictable gale winds and seasonal tropical storms may wreak havoc to these tranquil lands. In existence also are long interlacing river systems that incidences of drowning are quite common. It is not surprising that folks here have witnessed, as seen televised, actual search and rescue operations conducted over the years. There are about 1 to 2 or more SAR operation per month because LGUs have come to depend on our search and rescue capabilities. Likewise, invitations to attend disaster-related preparedness and response conferences have steadily risen over the past months.
- Written by tour of duty officer
- CGDSEM AOR
The area of responsibility of Coast Guard Southeastern Mindanao (CGDSEM) covers the coastal waters of the province of Surigao Del Sur in the north stretching towards west to the province of Saranggani and down to the Island of Balut in the south. It also includes important bodies of water engulfing Davao region, namely; Davao Gulf, Malalag Bay of Davao Del Sur and Mayo Bay of Davao Oriental. It has a coastline extending to about 1,746 kilometers and sprawling across a water jurisdiction of about 13,747 square kilometers. Its coastal areas provide settings to six (6) cities, 48 municipalities and 1,160 coastal barangays.
- DAVAO GULF
Davao Gulf cuts into Davao Region from the Celebes Sea. It is surrounded by four provinces of said region comprising of Davao Del Sur, Davao Del Norte, Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental. A cluster of islands can be found in the gulf collectively known as the Islands Garden City of Samal. The gulf is a major fishing ground and its ranked 10th among the 24 fisheries statistical areas of the country. It also serves as the center of marine biodiversity in the region that is rich in variety of marine life. On the gulf’s west coast sprawl a number of ports serving the local and international vessels. Record shows that an average of 21, 500 vessels and about 1760 of which are foreign call the different ports of Davao. These different ports link trade and commerce to other ports of the world such as those in Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Australia, Middle East, Europe and USA. The gulf is also provides the environment for local water transport as there about 54 established routes crisscrossing within its waters and serving the transportation needs of the surrounding communities . There are about 343 clusters of residential communities situated along the coasts of Davao Gulf taking advantage of the convenience and economy of water transport. It is by these features that the gulf can be described as a very ecologically, economically and socially important area to Davao region.
- Written by tour of duty officer
During its 26th anniversary celebration in June 2009. Coast Guard District Western Visayas adopted seemingly “old-new” theme- passionate coastguarding. Old because “passion” is an oft-used word to describe something or someone of intensity, to the point of being a cliché. New because the word is not a favorite to describe or characterize a technical thing, more so a technical service that is engaged in the serious business of safety and security. But despite the lack of bravado, they are interesting and substantial words that one can live by.
As the Philippine Coast Guard celebrates its 108th founding anniversary, there is that compelling urge to visit those words anew. For the words seem to sound a theme good not only for one anniversary but for many anniversaries. It might even be a theme for “all seasons”.
At a glance it may seem unlikely theme. The words do not seem to fit, or go along well like a mismatched pair. It doesn’t evoke the aura of loftiness, nay seriousness of common themes – say “Dedicated and Committed Coast Guard”. It also doesn’t conjure the nationalistic fervor of one framed in the national language, like – “Malinis, mapayapa at ligtas na karagatan” Still, the words have certain charm and appeal that seem to resonate well to those who desire (or demand) more from the Coast Guard. They reflect the yearning better and go beyond the normal. Although the operative word is coast guarding, one cannot help to be titillated by the modifier. Indeed, one is wont to think of the sensual or temporal when we speak of “passionate”, ignoring its other equally interesting meanings. Even the Greek ‘pathos’ where the word passionate was derived exudes several meanings e.g. – something that happen to you bad or good, intense feelings of want or need, showing great love and affection, etc. Just the first two definitions could already evoke a wide spectrum of meanings and interpretations, a testament to the encompassing and overarching power of the word.
Perhaps, nobody could describe passion as articulately and passionately as Brian Norms (2007) when he said, thus; “Passion is a gift of the spirit combined with the totality of all the experiences we live through. It endow each one of us with the power to live and communicate with unbridled enthusiasm. Passion enables us to overcome obstacles and to see the world as a place of infinite potential. The passionate spirit looks at very occurrence and discovers the golden kernels of what can be, what should be and will be”.
- Written by tour of duty officer
Coast Guard District Southern Tagalog (CGDSTL) is located in the fast rising economic center of the country where the Strong Republic Nautical Highway connects the five(5) major ports that ply the following routes: Batangas – Calapan; Batangas – Romblon; Batangas – Abra de Ilog; Roxas – Caticlan and Lucena – Marinduque. Through the years, the CGDSTL amidst the enormous responsibility at hand was able to perform its multifarious functions and address needs of the maritime community in the area of responsibility. In line with the Commandant’s COMPASS: Capacity Building Measures, Operating Environment Awareness, Aggressive Training and Recruitment, Strategic Deployments and Visibility, Total Vigilance and Preparedness, Growth in Service and Support System, Unity of Action Through Partnership, Accountable Finance and Logistic System, Responsible Maritime Governance, Development of Doctrines and Maritime Regimes. Parallel to the program ensuring safer ships, cleaner seas and secure maritime environment, the following are the CGDSTL’S accomplishment for this year.
Capacity building initiatives. CGDSTL was able to facilitate the donation of a 30, 910 square meters or almost 3.1 hectare lot located at Sabang Point, Brgy Cajimos, Romblon from the local government of Romblon for the future PCG Maritime Search and Rescue Base Facility.
- Written by tour of duty officer
The Philippine Coast Guard undertakes regular activities which are covered within the co-operational frameworks with other countries. These activities range from capability building measures, regular dialogues, information exchange, communication excercises, seminars, workshops and conduct of actual bilateral/multilateral exercises. Moreover these activities primarily cover the PCG’s functional areas which are similar to maritime agencies with other countries.
IMO Councils, Sessions and Assembly. The PCG has been consistently sending representatives to attend IMO meetings. The agency’s participation not only lends support to the Philippine delegation as a whole but likewise afford us with the chance to enhance technical knowledge and widen cooperation opportunities with other international stakeholders of the maritime community. All these efforts are consistent with our desire to continuously upgrade the PCG’s capability and effectively accomplish our mandated tasks.
Border Patrol, SAR and Marine Pollution Exercises. These annual activities continue to gain grounds for mutual understanding between the PCG and other foreign maritime agencies. These activities serve as a forum for maritime agencies to agree on common sets of action in eradicating maritime violators as well as respond to maritime disasters. It enhances the interoperability of available assets in combined operations.
The ReCAAP is the first government-to-government agreement that addresses the incidence of piracy and armed robbery in Asia. The ReCAAP initiative aims to enhance multilateral cooperation among the sixteen regional countries including the Republic of the Philippines. The agreement was finalized on 11 November 2004 in Tokyo,Japan, and came into force on 04 September 2006. A PCG officer is on secondment at the ReCAAP-ISC in Singapore which opened opportunities for PCG officers for foreign post.
Head of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting. The Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting is an annual event undertaken among the Coast Guard Agencies in the Asian-Region to promote cooperation and collaboration in responding to challenges affecting their respective national and regional maritime domain. It is also an excellent avenue where emerging coast guard agencies can be provided with the essential best practices that may aid in the formulation of responsive administrative and operational doctrines for their own organizations.
Aside from these meetings and conferences, PCG officers and Enlisted Personnel are also given opportunities for education and training at the World Maritime University in Malmoe Sweden, the International Maritime Law Institute in Malta Italy, the Dalhousie University in Halifax Canada, and the National Taiwan Ocean University in Taiwan, as well as JICA sponsored training in Japan.
Asia Pacific Heads of Maritime Safety Agencies Forum. The Asia Pacific Heads of Maritime Safety Agencies Forum (APHoMSA) was established in 1996 to foster and promote multilateral efforts to improve maritime safety, security and environmental protection in the Asia Pacific Region and has since then been regularly attended by the PCG Commandant. The APHoMSA is an annual event attended by 27 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, two regional organizations and two inter-governmental organizations with the responsibilities for maritime safety and protection of the marine environment. The PCG Commandant was appointed as the Vice-Chair for this years’s APHoMSA in preparation for the PCG’s hosting of the 11th APHoMSA forum to be held in Manila 2010.
- Written by tour of duty officer
The much daunted “global crisis” has prompted some of the world’s leading financial technocrats and managers to review and redefine their respective country’s existing trading and economic policies in order to mitigate the long –term.
In this case of the Philippines, our country is “probably fortunate” to have the usual financial miracle coming from the much need Dollar remittances from the more than Ten (10) million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) that span from Europe \, Middle East, Austral-Asia and the continental United States including all oceans of the world (of course, we have to include our seafarers). The infusion of the green bucks from our OFWs, more often stabilizes the country’s Balance of Payment thereby alleviating our country’s dependency on the U.S. dollar.
But for how long are we going to be dependent on our OFW remittances in order to literally save our economy from unforeseen fortuitous economic events? As an economic policy direction, are we going to maintain our global niche as the foremost labor export producing country in the next Thirty (30) years? Do we have a choice?
Although our President had infused some major structural economic reforms in order to jeep our country’s economy resilient in the face of this global economic downturn, our policy makers in government (both local and national) should collectively look for some ways and means to find for some durable and lasting solutions in order to galvanize our domestic economy and make the same as the bulwark of progress and development, and not relying heavily on overseas remittances,
If one has to review the present political grouping of nations around the world , by way of dissecting the major political and social events that had influenced mankind in the las 1,500 years, and likewise basing it from the historical perspective presented to us by Near Eastern, Middle Eastern, Western historians we could readily agree primarily that nations of today is practically an indirect by-product of “trade” of natural resources, most specially, food commodities that cannot be found in Europe. These are the silk trade route to China the European demand for sugar and spices from the Indies , the European thirst for coffee from Africa and South America (gold as well), the European demand for tea from Asia, the discovery of oil in the Arabian peninsula, the establishment of the British East India Company to oversee (later govern) India’s natural resources and the commodities (which eventually led mahatma Gandhi to dramatize the plight of his people against the imposition of “salt taxes”, and later on went to something politically bigger leading to India’s gaining of independence). Yet these are just few of the myriad economic events (that involves trade) that had crucially shaped the culture and political destinies and divisions of most countries in Asia, Africa and America.
In other words, trade plays a major role not only in the economic but in the socio-political survival of a nation. As can be analyzed in the foregoing examples, we can simply say that the reason why societies of men engage in trading activity since time immemorial is because of their ultimate need of filling up their stomach of food for survival and hoarding natural resources for their nations survival, And because of this, strong nations have emerged out of the societies of those men who have perfected the art and power of trade, in particular, the shipping trade. It is on this context that we have to examine on untapped corner in the Philippines where all the potential elements of becoming a major trading post in Southeast Asia are present and that is, the Southern part of Palawan province.
We start with the story of garlic, onion, cooking oil, sugar, tea, coffee, fish, noodles, and the likes, all “small foodstuffs” and bits and pieces of natural resources fo man’s everyday needs and for his stomach – foodstuffs and natural resources that had redefined the global political landscape of mankind for the last 500 years. Small items they may seem, but indeed history would tell us that they had shaped i rub-shaped many a nation. And this is where we contemplate on how to shape the economic direction of our nation through starting on the simple trade of these commodities with our neighbors and vice-versa, which would probably lead into something economically rewarding in the future. The idea here is to start small and simple.
For 1,500 years, the people of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Southern Palawan have been trading their foodstuffs with their neighbors from Sabah, Malaysia and even in Indonesia, simply because it is near and convenient for them, Peace abounds in their societies despite some small tribal conflicts. They socially interact and trade with each other, There were no known political, social and cultural boundaries to speak about. It was only until the advent of the British the Spanish and the American colonization period, and the aftermath of World War II that most of our societies in this part of Southeast Asia were politically, socially and culturally divided,
However despite the political developments that had happened in the lastly 500 years in our area and as we have entered the dawn of the 21st century, our Southern peoples have persisted in their trading activities along with their counterparts in Malaysia, Bournei and Indonesia. This unorganized activity of informal trading for
“small foodstuffs” and bits and pieces of natural resources (which is actually vital fir their survival), is somewhat oblivious to the mind of the today’s planner, which at present, has actually redounded to indirectly inducing security problems in terms of smuggling, social apathy lawlessness, criminalities, and the likes due to the absence of CIVILIAN government infrastructure, such as, Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Security (Coast Guard and Police), or otherwise known as CIQS, to take care in processing this trading and the movement of people.
Since no CIVILIAN authorities are checking them every time they cross the border to buy onion, garlic, cooking oil and even gasoline or diesel to fuel their generators (since there is no electricity in their area), they would rather do their marketing in Kudat, Sandagan, Kota kinabalo, Lubuan or even in Brunei, which would only take them between 30 minutes to 5 hours of se travel, depending in the distance of the place where they are coming from.
In today’s political and economic language this is purely illegal, but in the language of these people, this activity is “legal” since their forefathers have been doing this for hundreds of years. In the case if the people in Blabac and Mangsee Islands, their dilemma is also exacerbated by the fact that if they force themselves to buy their daily supply from Puerto Princesa City, It would take them one day to reach their destination by sea and by land, in addition to spending a lot of money and fuel, fare, and lodging expenses, notwithstanding that the prices of goods there, are far more expensive that in Sabah.
This story may be considered a cliché by some of our economic planners, since they would say that thus problem is just a typical one befalling those people living in the far-flung areas of Southern Mindanao, and this situation has been a perennial problem of the government way back during the time of President Marcos. They would further add that our government then, in order to uplift the living conditions of our Muslim and Christian brothers in those areas, had established the barter trade posts in Zamboanga and Jolo, but subsequently it failed due to some abuses. So what is new about this trade? Why push for it since it will just fail anyway like the barter trade posts in Zamboanga and Jolo.
Of coursem the big difference is, in a ”barter trade”, one has a concession from the government where goods coming from Sabah are free of tax, while in “conventional trade”, one has to pay the corresponding duties and taxes accruing the imported goods.
At this junctuyre, if we pause for a while and reflect on the geo-political configurtation of Southern Plawan (temporarily putting aside Zamboanga, Basilan, Jolo and Tawi-Tawi from our discussion), vis-à-vis its economic potential, one would discover the following facts:
- There are more than half a million people living in Southern Palawan. Since most of them use sea transportation to go to Manila it normally takes the almost two (2) days to reach their destination. Goods in Palawan become expensive because of expensive freight cost.
- Travel time by sea from the Southernmost tip of Plaawan to Kudat, Kota Kinabalo, Labuan or Brunei is between 30 minutes to 5 hours, depending on the place where they come from (and also depending on the speed of the boat as well).
- A lot of goods, supplies and materials are cheaper in Sabah as compared to buyinh the same in puerto Princesa City, since most of them come from Manila, where time, freight, man-hours, shipping turn-around are added costs.
- Strait of Balabac is considered a vital international sea lane since most ships coming from Singapore or the Strait of Malacca bounded for the U.S. pass through this water. Lord Stamford Raffles, if he is alive today, would also envisage Southern Palawan as the next Singapore in Asia. During his time, nobody would ever thought that Singapore would eventually metamorphose as a world renowned shipping hub, except that this Island is adjacent to the Strait of Malacca, Like Southern Palawan is adjacent to the Strait of Balabac.
- Philippines had initiated in the ASEAN an economic program of an increase in free trade coupled with “zero tariff” rate in the year 2020. Opening Southern Palawan to the world through initializing the conventional trade with Sabah may open a floodgate of unquantifiable economic opportunities for the Philippines.
- Eighty (80) percent of goods in “169” Divisoria and most stores in Baclaran (probably even in SM and Rustans) are either imported from China, Thailand, U.S., Malaysia, Singapore, etc. Why can’t Southern Palawan import the same goods from Sabah and sell the same to its local stores since traders would pay the same duties and taxes anyway? Simply because, there is no established conventional trade in Southern Palawan from abroad for the reason tha it lacks the administrative government infrastructure such as the CIQS.
- Southern Palawan has a big potential to become the next “168” Divisoria or a wholesale trade center of goods not found in Manila (or found to be expensive). This, luring big Filipino businessmen to trade wholesale in this area. The RORo p[ort in Taytay (North of Palawan mainland) will be completed before the end of the year, and travel time to Manila from this port would only take approximately 12 to 15 hours, as compared with the present travel time of almost 48 hours. In a way, this will encourage traders to buy wholesale goods and materials from Palawan bought from Sabah, thence, transport the same to Manila and oother point of destinations in Luzon.
- Direct flight from Puerto Pirncesa to Kota Kinabalo is only approximately 40 minutes; a great potential for tourism. In fact, one airline has started commercial flights that costs P2.800 which is cheaper than flying to Manila from Puerto Pricesa. One could practically spend his time in Kota Kinabalo and Brunei over the weekend since there is no visa requirement. The same holds true for tourists coming from Sabah who would want to visit Palawan.
- Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have a combined consumer population of approximately 300 million, coupled with and abundance of skilled and talented manpower, as well as natural resources.
- Written by tour of duty officer
The absence of major accidents and major effects of disasters are clear manifestations of vigilance and preparedness. It is in this context that Coast Guard District Central Eastern Visayas, under the helm of COMMO ROLANDO M DIZON PCG has successfully pursued mandated functions to accomplish the PCG mission. To date, the District has embarked sustained, aggressive and proactive moves in the enforcement of Maritime Safety, Security and Environmental Protection. It had effectively and efficiently provided Search and Rescue services to seafarers in the AOR with the available resources at her disposal.
With the District resources, even in adverse weather condition, response has been achieved by partnership with all stakeholders, and inculcating the culture of social responsibility on the seagoing community.
This culture has been proven on several occasions to be effective and efficient since, in areas where response is limited, the seagoing community is always available to provide the services needed in saving lives and property threatened at sea.
The conduct of sustained Maritime Safety and Security operations in our ports and maritime jurisdiction have resulted to negative safety/security incidents. Attempts were made to use our maritime ports and facilities for illegal activities but failed resulting to the interception/confiscation of explosives, illegal drugs and other contrabands in our AOR.
On Search and Rescue response, CGDCEV has performed well as gleaned from the almost negative fatality to victims. Our ever ready and dynamic units in the area have shown their vigilance, initiative and responsiveness, a manifestation of courage, discipline and a true Coastguardian ready to sacrifice even his own life in saving lives and property.
For Maritime Safety, CGDCEV has maintained an average of 95 percent operational efficiency of its Lighthouse Stations and Lighted Buoys. These have contributed much for the safe transit of vessels in our maritime jurisdiction. The District is targeting a 100 percent operational efficiency of our Aids to Navigation in the present safety function activities. To date we have already requested for the conduct of ATON and Buoy laying operations to restore those that have been displaced and installation of additional new Lighted Buoys particularly those along Cebu Channel to enhance safe passage due to the volume of maritime traffic in the area. Further, we are undertaking remedial actions/projects/activities as effective aids to navigation.
Protection and Preservation of our Marine Environment have been done by the District with more enthusiasm. For the period, sustained enforcement, response and public information activities on maritime preservation and protection were given greater attention and the MEPGRU-CEV has led in almost all maritime environmental protection activities. This could well be illustrated by our immediate, efficient and effective response during possible oil spill incidents in the Maritime environment resulting to the prevention of these incidents in the AOR.
In response to the PCG capability/infrastructure development thrust, CGDCEV has embarked on development projects to upgrade the PCG capability/working condition, image and uplift the morale and welfare condition of our personnel. Infrastructure development projects have been undertaken completing about Twenty Five (25) projects, categorized as renovation, repair, repainting and construction of buildings/facilities within our AOR.
By and large, with the modest accomplishment, CGDCEV could humbly say that we have projected and made the Philippine Coast Guard relevant in this part of the country and we have accomplished our mission in having “SAFE AND CLEANER SEAS.”
- Written by tour of duty officer
It was forty one years ago that the Coast Guard District National Capital Region-Central Luzon was activated and became the premier District of the Philippine Coast Guard. Since that time, CGDNCR-CL has been in the forefront in achieving the vision and mission of PCG. The District has outstandingly performed numerous tasks of the Command which include addressing various concerns in the largest ports and busiest sea lanes of the country not to mention the huge volume of maritime traffic in the international ports of Manila Bay and Subic Bay.
The numerous accomplishments over the year of the District were made possible through the continuing hard work, professionalism, sincerity and good team work of the men and women of the District. Following are some of the activities and accomplishments of this District in the performance of various maritime functions and missions in consonance with the mandated functions of the Philippine Coast Guard:
Continuous Conduct of Trainings
Typhoon Doctrine Seminar. Information being provided to the public is one of the massive ways in preventing incidents during calamities, so aside from the quick responses of our operating units to SAR incidents, the District and its Stations have continuously conducted information and education campaigns by providing free maritime safety seminars not only to our own personnel but also to residents living along the coasts of its AOR.
Basic Lifeguard Training Course. The most common reason for aquatic accident is lack of safety knowledge. Tragic water accidents happen quickly and every second counts in drowning incident. Thus, the District has endeavored to raise an awareness campaign on beach safety in order to enhance public safety in beach resorts. In pursuit of the Coast Guard mission, this District has been conducting/offering free Basic Lifeguard Training Courses (BLTC) for lifeguards from various hotels and resorts in order to have an adequate number of lifeguards which will ensure the safety of local and foreign tourists and eliminate drowning incidents. The BLTC aims to develop and hone the skills of every lifeguard participant particularly on lifesaving techniques during emergency. This unique training provided a high level of confidence on each participant who were required to undergo and respond to a realistic hands-on lifesaving scenario prior to the completion of the course.
Fluvial Parade Activities. Operating units constantly provide assistance and act as security marshals on occasions of fluvial parades in their respective AOR, thereby developing good public relations and gaining public trust with the people around its AOR while promoting sea safety. Personnel of NCR-CL conducted safety inspections of watercraft used in fluvial parades to ensure their seaworthiness while rescue units were on hand to ensure the safety of thousands of participants in these fluvial parades. The safety of thousands of devotees was ensured by NCR-CL personnel who were present in at least 6 fluvial parades conducted in different parts of the AOR. Through excellent teamwork, all fluvial parade activities were successfully completed without any untoward incidents. Sea Marshals. The aftermath of Superferry 14 incident prompted the activation of Task Force Sea Marshal (TFSM) in March 2004, which deploys a composite team of PCG, AFP and PNP personnel on board passenger vessels departing from various ports and acts as security and deterrent forces while the vessels are underway. An element from the Coast Guard acts as head of each sea marshal team. The Task Force Sea Marshal,composed of about 200 officers and personnel, is under the operational control of C,CGDNCR-CL.
Over the past years, TFSM has likewise, developed a professional rapport with the local agencies and NGOs for its involvement on averting illegal women and child trafficking, theft and other unlawful acts which transpire in the conduct of their mandated tasks on board commercials vessels.
In November 2008, Sea Marshals onboard M/V Our Lady of Good Voyage successfully apprehended Nasif Papandayan, also known as “Pakpak” who has a warrant of arrest for a case of murder in Dasmarinas, Cavite. In many other cases, while conducting security inspections, Sea Marshals were credited with apprehensions on illicit drugs trafficking and gun shipment. In a nutshell, our Sea Marshals carry out multiple missions in addition to assisting in ship and port security. In the recent sinking of M/V SF-9 of Aboitiz Transport Services near the Zamboanga peninsula, the four (4) sea marshals onboard helped immensely in the orderly disembarkation of passengers during the abandonship and were in fact among the last few people to leave the ill-fated vessel. They were also instrumental in reviving a young girl who got drowned as they successfully conducted CPR to said victim onboard the sinking ship while hounded by other cries for help and the continuous tilting of the vessel during the said critical period.
Rescue Activities and Retrieval. For the past few months, several drowning incidents were reported arising from the individuals calls of residents and concerned citizens seeking for Coast Guard assistance and response. Quick responses have been made possible thru the aid of the District personnel, operating units and the Coast Guard Special Operations Group NCR-CL.
District operating units, in collaboration with the PCGA, LGUs, NGOs, other government agencies and concerned citizens, conducted various search and rescue operations. Prominent among these was the successful SAR operations conducted by CGS Subic to F/B Maria Antonia 2 with eighteen (18) crewmembers/fishermen onboard when a fishing boat encountered engine trouble between Capones Island and Zapatos Island in San Antonio, Zambales at the height of typhoon Julian. CG Station Subic was also successful in its conduct of evacuation, rescue and assistance to more than 800 resisdents of Botolan, Zambales who were trapped atop their houses due to severe flooding caused by the collapse of a dike due to continuous heavy rains. The significant efforts done by the combined teams of Coast Guard and the 102nd PCGA Squadron under the command of the Station Commander, CGS Subic in Botolan Zambales were recognized and were published in front pages of two leading newspapers and aired on television and radio stations for three days.
On 26 February 2009, personnel of CGS Bataan successfully conducted rescue operations on four (4) fishermen whose motor banca capsized at vicinity 3.5 nautical miles north of San Jose, Corregidor Island.
With all these, no other form of remuneration could equal the gratitude that the people showed to all our operating units for all the search and rescue efforts done. It is also worthy to note that the District responded to 51 other rescue/retrieval operations involving people who met accidents in rivers and other small but deep water tributaries. Establishing Marine Environmental Awareness. With the growing concern on environmental protection and numerous pronouncements emphasizing the need for protection and preservation of the marine environment, the District thru CGS Pasig has given its full support by directly participating in various environmental projects specifically the rehabilitation of the Pasig River with the ultimate goal of making it alive again. The District and the said Station gave their continous support to the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC). In relation, CGS Laguna de Bay also works hand-in-hand with the Laguna Lake. CGS Laguna de Bay assisted the LLDA and DENR in the demolition of more than 200 illegally constructed fish cages, pens and structures along Taguig, Alabang and Muntinlupa.
Through good partnership, operating units have been working with the members of Coast Guard Auxiliary District NCR-CL in the conduct of regular coastal clean-up in the different coastal barangays. Moreover, in order to remind the residents in the coastal barangays came up with a joint project on the installation of billboards along the coastlines with the slogan “SAMA-SAMA AT TULUNG-TULONG TAYONG PANATILIING MALINIS AT WALANG POLUSYON ANG ATING BAYBAYIN AT KARAGATAN,” purposely to encourage people on saving our environment. District Headquarters, Stations and Detachment personnel,in coordination with Auxiliary units have planned and worked well during the September 19, 2009 coastal clean-up operations to commemorate the International Coastal Clean-up Day and on September 26 to augment coastal clean-up efforts during the Maritime Week celebration in support of the thrust of the PCG leadership. The said PCG thrust also includes District and Auxiliary efforts in tree and mangrove planting activities.
District Headquarters, Stations and Detachment personnel, in coordination with Auxiliary units have planned and worked well during the September 19, 2009 coastal clean-up operations to commemorate the International Coastal Clean-up Day and on September 26 to augment coastal clean-up efforts during the Maritime Week celebration in support of the thrust of the PCG leadership. The said PCG thrust also includes District and Auxiliary efforts in tree and mangrove planting activities. M/V CAPTAIN UFUK. On 20 August 2009, a joint team composed of personnel from the Mariveles Bureau of Customs Office, CGS Bataan and Mariveles local PNP conducted a board and search inspection to a suspicious foreign vessel that arrived from Jakarta, Indonesia reportedly loaded with illegal firearms while anchored at waters off Mariveles, Bataan . The said operation resulted in the successful apprehension of the foreign flag vessel “M/V CAPTAIN UFUK”, a 2,451 gross tons, single crew 1967-built Panamanian registered general cargo vessel, and its cargo of fifty (50) galil SS1-V1 caliber 5.56 assault riffles, one hundred twenty (120) empty magazines and forty five (45) bayonets. The said firearms shipment was considered a serious national security concern.
The District operating units continue to address piracy issues in its AOR through the conduct of maritime patrol/seaborne operation to deter and prevent any act of piracy in the waters of Manila Bay and Zambales. Other Operations. On 10 February 2009, CGS Bataan conducted maritime rescue operations on the phenomenal presence of more than two hundred trapped melon- headed dolphins at the murky and shallow waters of Pilar, Bataan. The said incident caught a lot of attention as the dolphins were trapped.
- Written by tour of duty officer
Few may choose to tread the long and narrow path but as the Bible tells us, it is the path that leads to something better and brighter. When first the PCG was separated from the PN, not many dared to cast their lots with it. What happened resonates deeply with the concept of maritime trade of olden days when a voyage is deemed an adventure redolent with risks and danger yet may unexpectedly turn into a highly profitable endeavor. The PCG experience is parallel to that part of maritime history. Yet it has now emerged successful in the gamble that it took 11 years ago. To date the PCG Bill or the law that seeks to not only update RA 5173 as amended but also to modernize and empower the Philippine Coast Guard has already reached 3rd reading in the Senate, thanks to the unanimous support of the Senate Committee on National Defense, Chaired by Sen. Rodolfo Biazon and the whole Philippine Senate. It has now been calendared to be presented in the bicameral session of Congress on November 2009.
In anticipation of the passage of SB 3389, a cursory look into the salient provisions of the would be Coast Guard law will help everyone, PCG personnel and the public alike, to understand the Coast Guard as an entity. One of the most basic changes that SB No. 3389 made is as follows:
SEC 2. Establishment. – The Philippine Coast Guard, hereinafter referred to as the PCG, is hereby established as an armed and uniformed service attached to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC): Provided, That in times of war, as declared by congress, the PCG or parts thereof, shall be attached to the Department of Nationals Defense.
This provision firmly establishes the PCG as an agency under the DOTC and no longer as a unit of the PN in effect elevating it to the level of the AFP and PNP. Sam Bateman in his article entitled Coast Guards: New Forces for Regional Order and Security said: “One observer spoke about ‘New Times for Old Navies’ concluding that: Turning warships into lawships is a rational way ahead for future international society in which the costs of war are dramatically increasing and the benefits clearly decreasing”. This shows that since the world has seen the devastation man can wreak on himself through wars, it has preferred to deal with the daily necessity of co-existing in peaceful ways. The sight of grey naval ships automatically brings to mind war and hostilities while the white ships with blue and red stripes are viewed as rescuers, enforcers and protector of the marine environment. With SB No. 3389, the PCG is empowered to perform a myriad of maritime functions. Coast Guard function is succinctly described in the following:
“They have to maintain safety in their waters, protect the marine environment, and generally maintain good order at sea. The prevention of marine pollution, illegal fishing, and criminal activity at sea (such as piracy and the various forms of smuggling) are now as much a part of national security as is defense against military threats. The ability to undertake these tasks is an important element of nation building and a large part of the rationale for establishing a coast guard.”(Bateman)
Section 3, of SB No. 3389 provides for the Powers and Function of the PCG primary of which is the enforcement of regulations in accordance with all relevant maritime international conventions, treaties or instruments and national laws for the promotion of safety of life and property at sea within the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines including but not limited to the conduct of port state control implementation. It also provides authority to inspect all merchant ships and vessels to ensure compliance to safety standards coupled with the power detain stop or prevent a ship or vessel which does not comply with safety standards, rules and regulations, from sailing or leaving port as well as the right to evaluate emergency readiness of merchant marine vessels. Further, PCG is also empowered to issue and enforce rules and regulations for the promotion of safety of life and property at sea on all maritime-related activities. In relation to navigational safety, SB No. 3389 mandates that Coast Guards shall coordinate, develop, establish, maintain and operate aids to navigation, vessel traffic system, maritime communications and search and rescue facilities within the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines. It also includes the exercise of power to remove, destroy or tow to port, sunken or floating hazards to navigation, including illegal fish traps and vessels, at or close to sea lanes which may cause hazard to navigation and the marine environment.
In addition to maritime safety functions, the PCG still is mandated to continue on the protection of the marine environment which covers enforcement, promulgation and administration of rules and regulations for the protection of marine environment and resources from offshore sources of pollution within the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines. It incorporates the power to develop oil spill response, containment and recovery capabilities against ship-based pollution.
The Coast Guard is moreover mandated to assist in the enforcement and maintenance of maritime security, prevention or suppression of terrorism at sea, and performance of law enforcement functions in accordance with pertinent laws, rules and regulations, in conformity with the changes in the local and international maritime arena in the line with the conventions codes issued relating to the preceding incidents. Other incidents include assistance in enforcement of laws on fisheries, immigration, tariff and customs, forestry, firearms and explosives, human trafficking, dangerous drugs and controlled chemicals, transnational crimes and other applicable laws within the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines.
Lastly, the PCG continues to be reposed with the authority and responsibility to render aid to persons and vessels in distress and conduct search and rescue in marine accidents within the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines, including the high seas, in accordance with applicable international conventions. Worthy of note is a comment made by a House Representative during a committee hearing of the Bill when it was still in the Lower House, who said that the responsibility to ensure safety and render aid during distress should never be the monopoly of any one government agency. That statement was made in response to those who raised objections on the stated functions of the Coast Guard in the Bill. Inline thereof, the PCG is authorized to enlist the services of other government agencies and the merchant marine fleet when the need arises. In connection with the responsibility to render aid to persons and vessels in distress, the Coast Guard is empowered with the right to investigate and inquire into the causes of all maritime accidents involving death, casualties and damage to properties.
As for the organization, the PCG will, as an attached agency of the DOTC, still be headed by a Commandant who will be assisted by Deputy Commandant with an officer corps and enlisted personnel. Salary and pay scale will still be as that of the AFP. Personnel administration like the disciplinary system will be covered by the military justice system while the non-uniformed employees will be governed by the Civil Service Law.
In summary, SB No. 3389 will not only provide a charter for the PCG but it also updates the organization and its function to keep the Coast Guard abreast with the changes and challenges that incidents and developments have ushered in. The voyage ahead will still be littered with trials but with a law, the PCG’s direction will now be clearly plotted, making it easier for the organization to move ahead.
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