PH Coast Guard’s most modern ship to arrive in February 2020

Robie de Guzman   •   December 20, 2019   •   823

MANILA, Philippines – The first offshore patrol vessel (OPV) of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is set to arrive in the country in February 2020 following its formal handover ceremony in France.

French Shipbuilding OCEA formally turned over the vessel to the PCG in a ceremony held in Saint Nazaire on December 18.

The turnover rites marked the first time that PCG’s newest and largest 83-meter vessel will be flying the Philippine flag.

The vessel’s Commanding Officer, Commander Alberto Ferre led the ceremony and witnessed by Philippine Ambassador to France Ma. Theresa Larazo, who represented the PCG and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

Also present in the historic event were the 35 PCG personnel and crew who will operate the vessel and will bring it home to the Philippines.

The ship, which will officially be commissioned to the PCG as Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Gabriela Silang, will depart France on December 30 and is set to arrive in Manila on February 10, 2020.

The vessel is designed for general coastal patrol of territorial waters, maritime surveillance operations, and law enforcement.

It will be used to patrol the Benham Rise and the West Philippine Sea, as well as to conduct anti-piracy and terrorism missions in Mindanao.

Last month, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade approved the Provisional Acceptance of the OPV, through BRP Gabriela Silang’s commanding officer Ferre, in the signing of the certificate in France.

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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