Over 23,000 passengers stranded in PH ports due to typhoon ‘Ursula’ – PCG

Robie de Guzman   •   December 24, 2019   •   672

Stranded passengers at the Fast Craft Terminal/Lapuz Wharf were transferred to the evacuation center at Jalandoni Memorial Elementary School. ILOILO CITY DRRMO

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday reported a total of 23,789 passengers stranded in ports across the country due to the inclement weather brought about by typhoon Ursula.

The PCG said the stranded passengers were monitored in various ports in Bicol, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Southern Tagalog, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas and Southern Visayas.

The agency also said the operations of 3,253 rolling cargoes, 46 motorbancas, and 157 vessels also temporarily suspended, while 86 vessels and seven motorbancas are taking shelter due to the bad weather condition.

The PCG said the sea travel are currently suspended in some areas in light of the storm signals hoisted by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

The agency also stressed that its strict implementation of the order to suspend sea travel in areas under storm warning signal is for the safety of the public.

“Nagsususpend po tayo ng biyahe base sa weather forecast na inilalabas ng PAG-ASA. Hangarin po namin ang kaligtasan ng bawat isa,” the PCG said in response to complaints it received on its Facebook page.

The PCG has directed all its units to “ensure the strict implementation of the guidelines on the movement of vessels during heavy weather to ensure the safety of lives and properties at all costs.”

PAGASA earlier reported that typhoon Ursula made a landfall over Salcedo, Eastern Samar at 4:45 p.m.

In its 5 p.m. weather bulletin, the state weather bureau said Ursula’s eye wall is bringing violent winds over the southern portion of Eastern Samar and is likely to affect Biliran, the southern portion of Samar and the norther part of Leyte in the coming hours.

PAGASA said the typhoon is packing maximum sustained winds of 120 kilometers per hour (kph) and gustiness of up to 150 kph.

It is moving west at the speed of 25 kph.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) Number 3 is up in the following areas:

  • Masbate including Ticao island
  • Northern Samar
  • Samar
  • Eastern Samar
  • Biliran
  • Leyte
  • Extreme Northern Cebu including Camotes island (Daanbantayan, Medellin, Bantayan, Sta. Fe, Madridejos, San Francisco, Poro, Tudela and Pilar)

TCWS no. 2 is up in:

  • Southern portion of Quezon (Mulanay, San Narciso, San Andres, San Francisco)
  • Marinduque
  • Oriental Mindoro
  • Occidental Mindoro including Lubang Island
  • Romblon
  • Albay
  • Sorsogon
  • Burias Island
  • Calamian and Cuyo Islands
  • Central portion of northern Cebu (Bogo City, Tabogon, Tabuelan, Borbon)
  • Northeastern Iloilo (Carles, Balasan, Estancia, Batad, San Dionisio, Sara, Concepcion, Lemery, and Ajuy)
  • Northern Antique (Libertad, Pandan, Sebaste, Culasi, Tibiao)
  • Capiz
  • Aklan
  • Southern Leyte
  • Northern Negros Occidental (Enrique B. Magalona, Victorias, Manapla, Cadiz, Sagay, Escalante, Toboso)
  • Dinagat Islands

Meanwhile, wind signal no. 1 is hoisted over the following areas:

  • Bulacan
  • Bataan
  • Metro Manila
  • Rizal
  • Cavite
  • The rest of Quezon
  • Laguna
  • Batangas
  • Camarines Sur
  • Camarines Norte
  • Catanduanes
  • Northern Palawan (Linapacan, El Nido, Taytay, Araceli, Dumaran, San Vicente, Roxas)
  • The rest of Cebu
  • Bohol
  • Siquijor
  • The rest of Antique
  • The rest of Iloilo
  • Guimaras
  • Negros Oriental
  • The rest of Negros Occidental
  • Surigao del Norte including Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands

The typhoon is seen to bring occasional to frequent heavy rains over Dinagat Islands, Siargao, Bucas Grande Islands, Eastern Visayas, Sorsogon, Masbate, northern and Central Cebu, northern Negros Provinces, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Guimaras and Romblon. 

Light to moderate with intermittent heavy rains over the rest of Bicol Region, Quezon, Marinduque, Oriental Mindoro, and the rest of Visayas and Surigao del Norte, according to PAGASA.

Moderate to strong winds will also affect Bicol Region and portions of Central Visayas tonight; CALABARZON, and portions of MIMAROPA and Western Visayas on Wednesday morning; Metro Manila, Bulacan, and Bataan Wednesday afternoon.

PAGASA said medium to high-risk structures may experience light damage.

The agency has advised residents in these areas to take appropriate measures to reduce the potential impact of flooding and rain-induced landslides, especially in areas identified to be highly susceptible to these hazards.

PAGASA also warned of possible storm surge of up to two meters which may affect the several coastal areas of Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, and Leyte.

Ursula is expected to leave the Philippine area of responsibility on Saturday, December 28.

PH security forces foil bomb plot in Jolo, Sulu

Robie de Guzman   •   September 21, 2020

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)

PCG, BOC strengthen cooperation on border patrol, anti-smuggling ops

Robie de Guzman   •   September 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) have agreed to enhance their cooperation on border control, anti-smuggling and other customs fraud.

This is through the signing of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Thursday for the joint manning and operation of 20 newly-procured fast patrol boats of the BOC.

In a statement, the PCG said that under the MOA, Coast Guard commandant Admiral George Ursabia and Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero have agreed to work together for the efficient utilization and navigation of these 12-meter floating assets for the performance of law enforcement functions to uphold security, peace, and order within the maritime jurisdiction of the Philippines.

Under the MOA, the BOC shall have the authority to deploy the fast patrol boats for law enforcement missions, while the PCG shall share its technical expertise in operating and navigating said floating assets and ensure that knowledge and skills are efficiently transferred to BOC personnel.

In an event of natural calamity or national emergency, the PCG, upon proper coordination with the BOC, may utilize the fast patrol boats in conducting search and rescue (SAR) operations and responding to maritime incidents.

Each fast boat shall be manned by a total of nine crew members, composed of five BOC personnel and four PCG non-officers, who satisfactorily completed the Small Boat Operation and Management Course.

While the PCG assists the BOC in maintaining the fast patrol boats, the BOC shall be responsible in allocating funds for the daily preventive maintenance of equipment or machines onboard, procurement of spare parts and other consumables, as well as dry docking and other repair activities.

“We are honored to further collaborate with the Bureau of Customs in deterring and preventing illegal activities in our country’s waters. Rest assured that we will pursue our commitment in keeping the Philippine maritime jurisdiction safe and secured,” Ursabia said.

“I look forward to the successful implementation of this agreement. I am grateful to the Philippine Coast Guard for assisting us in the enforcement of laws pertaining the border control, prevention of entry of smuggling, and other customs fraud that hinder the growth of our national economy,” Guerrero added.

The MOA took effect on September 10 and shall be referred in full force and effect for a period of five years.

Locsin turns down PCG request for own attaché in Beijing

Marje Pelayo   •   August 27, 2020

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 PRESS STATEMENT26 August 2020 This is in response to the statement of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin…

Posted by Philippine Coast Guard on Wednesday, 26 August 2020

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