Locsin turns down PCG request for own attaché in Beijing
Marje Pelayo • August 27, 2020 • 322
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin, Jr. expressed opposition to the request of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to assign a Coast Guard attaché at the Philippine Embassy in Beijing.
On Wednesday (August 26), Locsin on Twitter straightforwardly said “no” to the proposal, saying the country has a Defense attaché for national defense issues and assigning another position would only compromise the country’s sovereignty over its coastal seas.
In response to Locsin, the PCG explained that such a request was approved during the time of former Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Elson Hermogino and recommended by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to Locsin’s office on October 29, 2019.
It was anchored on the memorandum of understanding with the Chinese Coast Guard on the establishment of a joint committee to enhance cooperation “to strengthen mutual trust, deepen confidence, intensify communication, and enhance friendly cooperation between two countries.”
The PCG said an attaché, “would be the focal person in bilateral and multilateral engagements on the setting up of the committee, particularly in maritime search and rescue, law enforcement, security, and marine environmental protection.”
Nonetheless, while the PCG believes that the establishment of said post will significantly strengthen maritime cooperation between the Philippines and China, PCG spokesperson, Commodore Armand Balilo said the service fully respects the decision of Secretary Locsin on the matter and vows to continue to find ways to further secure the country’s maritime domain.
PCG Commandant, Admiral George V Ursabia Jr. commended the selfless efforts of P/Ens Barajan in ensuring the safety of his fellow Filipinos.
“P/Ens Barajan’s display of courage, determination, and presence of mind which led to the successful rescue of 62 victims, including himself is indeed worthy of emulation and respect for him, his family, and for the PCG – as a perfect demonstration of the Coast Guard service,” he said.
MV Siargao Princess, on November 2019, encountered big waves which resulted in flooding inside the vessel. It sank in less than ten minutes after an “abandon ship” order was declared.
“While floating on the water and waiting for rescue, P/Ens Barajan tied the lifejackets of passengers and crew members in groups so that everyone remained secured,” according to the PCG. AAC
MANILA, Philippines – Fifteen Filipino fishermen were rescued on Sunday after their boat capsized in waters off a town in Pangasinan, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said.
The PCG said its station in Pangasinan received a report on Sunday, Oct. 11 about the F/B Aqua Princess boat that capsized at vicinity waters of Agno town.
The boat was carrying the captain and 16 crew members.
Initial investigation showed the boat went on a fishing venture on Oct. 2.
Around Oct. 7, it was battered by big waves and eventually capsized.
The PCG said boat captain, Eddy Ariño instructed two crew members, Pedro Manalo and Jerby Regala, to use their service boat and proceed to the nearest Coast Guard Station to call for help. They left the rest of the crew clinging to the capsized boat’s outrigger.
The two fishermen reached the Coast Guard Sub-Station Infanta at Barangay Cato on Oct. 11 and reported the incident.
The PCG said it immediately deployed BRP MalaPascua to conduct search and rescue operations and issued a notice to transiting vessels within the vicinity to be on the lookout and render necessary assistance to Filipino fishermen if found.
“At around noon of 11 October 2020, the PCG Command Center received a message from Panamanian-flagged bulk carrier, M/V Kumano Maru that they have found and safely rescued 15 Filipino fishermen of capsized motorbanca, F/B Aqua Princess at vicinity waters 75 nautical miles west of Agno, Pangasinan,” the agency said.
The rescued fishermen were then turned over by the foreign vessel to BRP Malapascua near Quinawan, Bagac in the province of Bataan.
After undergoing medical screening and health protocols, the PCG transported the fishermen back to their hometown in Infanta.
A bomb plot in the capital town of Jolo in Sulu province believed to have been orchestrated by local terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was foiled by the Philippine security forces, the military said.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said, this is after the elements of the Philippine Coast Guard-Explosive and Ordnance Division (PCG) discovered a baggage that contained an improvised explosive device allegedly planted at the local port on Saturday.
The military added that a PCG patrol team found the abandoned baggage between the office of the Harbor Master and the Maritime Police Office at Jolo port.
A K9 unit deployed to the area confirmed that the baggage contained a bomb.
Operating troops of the 35th Infantry Battalion immediately cordoned off the area while the bomb squad carefully disarmed the explosive which was assembled using two electric blasting caps, a rifle grenade, a spark plug and concrete nails.
“I commend our troops and our partners for the accomplishment. You saved the lives of the innocent people and foiled this terroristic activity of our heartless enemies,” said Brig. Gen. William Gonzales, commander of the anti-terror Joint Task Force Sulu.
AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. also commended the troops.
“This success is a result of the intensified conduct of intelligence operations and the strengthened collaboration with the police and other security agencies, thus preempting the terrorists from executing their terror plan. I commend the troops of the JTF Sulu for a job well done,” he said.
The military said tight security measures remain in place as government troops continue to pursue ASG leader Mundi Sawadjaan who was said to the brains of the twin bomb attacks in Barangay Walled City in Jolo barely a month ago that killed 14 people and injured others. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Val Villaflor)
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