PH Coast Guard warns public vs ‘colorum’ sea vessels

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2019   •   1163

FILE: Authorities released a public warning against colorum vessels after an undocumented motor banca sank in Roxas City, Capiz on July 29, 2018. (Photo by DOTr)

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Monday warned passengers anew against patronizing ‘colorum’ or unregistered sea vessels.

The PCG’s warning came amid the growing number of passengers trooping to various seaports across the country in time for the Lenten season.

The agency admitted to facing difficulty in fully monitoring colorum sea vessels, thus, it appealed for public’s cooperation by reporting ships and boats that are illegally operating and transporting passengers.

“The public has a big role. Don’t ride. Don’t patronize (colorum ships and boats),” PCG spokesperson Capt. Armand Balilo said.

Balilo added that it is risky to board illegal sea vessels as passengers will not receive any benefit when accidents occur.

“Often, there is no floating equipment. If something happened, we cannot immediately know because we are not monitoring it,” Balilo said. 

The PCG has been placed under heightened alert status since April 8 in line with its bid to secure port passengers during the Lenten season.

Balilo said tighter security inspections and other measures are already in place even if the volume of passengers at ports remains normal.

The PCG expects the volume of travelers to surge by Wednesday, April 17.

Balilo reminded passengers to prepare for their trip accordingly, and observe the port’s policies against prohibited items.

“Plan your travel. Secondly, do not bring unnecessary things. [For example,] liquids that can cause explosion, hazardous materials, chemicals and sharp objects” he said. 

The PCG official also urged travelers to heed their shipping company’s advisories.

When boarding a sea vessel, adult passengers traveling with their family must guide and take care of the children and the elderly; know the location and how to use life jackets and to not leave their baggage unattended.

Aside from securing seaports, authorities are also closely monitoring popular tourist destinations in the country such as Palawan, Boracay Island, Bohol and other coastal areas in Cebu, which are commonly visited during the Lenten break. – Robie de Guzman (with details from April Cenedoza)

Authorities recover two more bodies in Iloilo-Guimaras strait tragedy

Robie de Guzman   •   August 6, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities on Tuesday recovered at least two more bodies amid ongoing search for the missing victims of the Iloilo-Guimaras strait tragedy, according to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Around 9 a.m., personnel from the PCG and the Philippine Air Force found a body of a man wearing black shorts and t-shirt.

A few hours later, authorities found another body of a male, this time wearing navy-blue shorts and yellow shirt, sporting a black wristwatch and a ring on one of his fingers.

The bodies were found in waters surrounding Dumanggas and Guimaras areas, the PCG said.    

According to PCG Lieutenant Junior Grade Charibel Pugong, the bodies are already bloated and in an advanced state of decomposition.

“Isang naging problema namin doon medyo nahirapan po tayo sa pagrecover kasi bigla pong lumakas ang ulan and then ang hangin tapos malaki po ang alon so nahirapan po tayo sa pagkuha ng cadaver,” Pugong said.

Authorities are still working to identify the bodies and verify whether these were among the victims of the maritime incident.

Last Saturday (August 3), three pump boats capsized in the waters off Iloilo and Guimaras due to a sudden squall or violent winds.

READ: MARINA begins probe on Iloilo-Guimaras strait incident

Authorities said an investigation into the incidents is underway. (with details from Lalaine Moreno)

PH Coast Guard ships sail to quake-hit Batanes for relief ops

Robie de Guzman   •   August 2, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Two vessels of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) are on their way to Batanes province to bring relief goods and supplies for the victims of two successive earthquakes that jolted Itbayat town last July 27.

The PCG said the ships called BRP Malabrigo and BRP Capones are carrying relief goods and supplies including tents (steel frame and tent cover), sleeping kits, laminated sack roles (lona), boxes of canned goods, noodles, bottled water, toiletries, powdered milk and packs of rice.

The supplies, which were loaded on the ships on Wednesday (July 31), were from the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the PCG Auxilliary.

The vessels left on Thursday morning but it remains unclear on when the ships will arrive in Batanes due to strong waves, according to the PCG.

The mobilization is part of the agency’s response plan following President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive to assist Batanes residents heavily affected by the tremors.

According to PCG Commandant Admiral Elson Hermogino, three vessels including the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ BRP Francisco Dagohoy have been tasked to conduct a transport mission to Batanes.

The PCG also deployed its Islander plane with medical teams on board to assist the Department of Health (DOH) personnel attending to the medical needs of residents affected by the earthquakes.

PNP conducts inspection in provincial bus terminals

Maris Federez   •   April 17, 2019

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now on full alert status in Metro Manila and other key tourist destinations until the end of the Lenten season.

Although authorities have not received threats in the country’s peace and order, around 91,000 police personnel are now deployed nationwide.

Police General Oscar Albayalde, NCRPO Chief Guillermo Eleazar and several PNP personnel on Wednesday (April 17) led the inspection at the Araneta Center Bus Terminal in Cubao and Victory Liner bus terminal in Pasay City.

The PNP officials personally checked the security plans of these terminals in accommodating passengers during the Lenten season. –Maris Federez

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