Public reminded to observe safety during beach outings

Robie de Guzman   •   April 1, 2019   •   1615

MANILA, Philippines — The dry season is on and almost everyone is raring to go to the beach and resorts to relax and cool down in the punishing heat.

But before taking a dip in the waves, the public is reminded to observe safety measures to avoid any untoward incidents.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Monday reminded beachgoers anew to check if the resort has life saving equipment installed and lifeguards who are ready to respond to water-related incidents such as drowning.

Beachgoers should also bring their own first aid kit in case of emergency, and heed the safety regulations issued by the beach resort management.

Before wading into the water, they should also check if there are flag signals, safety nets and bouy markers as well as safety signage and restricted areas.

Beachgoers are also advised to avoid swimming in areas that serve as passageway of sea vessels at ports.

When travelling with family or group of friends, inform them first of your whereabouts before taking a plunge. Adults should always keep an eye on children and guide the elderly to help avoid possible incidents while swimming in the sea.

Abide by the buddy system to stay safe, and refrain from swimming alone especially when inebriated.

Authorities also advise the public to take note of local emergency numbers and medical facilities in the area.

Over the weekend, the PCG inspected beaches and resorts to ensure the safety of tourists and excursionists who are planning to take a vacation in the coming week.

The PCG also asked local authorities to monitor and install life-saving equipment in rivers and falls frequented by tourists who are seeking other locations for their water escapades aside from the beach. – Robie de Guzman

Duterte names Ursabia as new PCG chief

Robie de Guzman   •   June 1, 2020

photo here: https://www.facebook.com/coastguardph/photos/a.115431275792202/536387257029933/?type=3&theater

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed Vice Admiral George Ursabia as the new commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

In a letter of appointment signed by Duterte, Ursabia will take over the position effective June 1 as Admiral Joel Garcia retires from the Coast Guard Service.

Prior to his designation as new PCG chief, Ursabia served as the Commander of the PCG-Marine Environmental Protection Command (MEPCOM) and the Task Group Laban COVID-19 Water Cluster, which oversees the deployment and operations of PCG personnel to ensure the safety and security of the Filipino people in this time of pandemic.

He also commanded the Coast Guard Districts Central Visayas, Palawan, Southeastern Mindanao and Northern Luzon, aside from his other positions as the Commander of the Coast Guard Ready Force and Staff for Maritime Safety Affairs.

According to a PCG statement, Ursabia is a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Hinirang Class of 1987.

He later pursued a Master of Science Degree in Maritime Safety and Environmental Protection as a scholar of Sasakawa Foundation, Japan and eventually earned the said post-graduate degree from the World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmo, Sweden in 1999.

Information from the PCG further stated that in Ursabia’s more than 36 years of active service, he held major positions both in the Philippine Navy and the PCG.

He is also a holder of “the most coveted Command-at-Sea Badge” as he commanded three Coast Guard SAR vessels namely BRP Romblon (SARV-3503), BRP Davao Del Norte (SARV 3504), and BRP Pampanga (SARV 003) as well as three (3) Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources 30-meter patrol boats, the agency said.

“I know that Vice Admiral Ursabia will continue the significant developments that as a leader at the helm must gear upon for the greater benefits of the Command,” Admiral Garcia stated.

23,000 OFWs test negative for COVID-19 after weeks of quarantine; over 14,000 may go home

Marje Pelayo   •   May 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Over 20,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFW) can finally breathe a sigh of relief after weeks of isolation in different quarantine facilities in Metro Manila since they arrived in the country.

This was after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) confirmed that their tests yielded negative results for coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Over 14,000 of them have been cleared and may now go home to see their families.

Ang panuntunan ay pwede nang gamitin yung e-clearance para bumilis as agreed upon yesterday doon sa aming meeting. Pwedeng i-print at yung na yung gagamitin nila para makaalis na po doon sa kanilang mga hotel,” confirmed PCG Spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo.

[They may now get an e-clearance to make it expedite the process as agreed upon our meeting yesterday. They may print a copy and present it to the hotel so they can leave.]

Balilo said the agency targets to process their clearances as soon as possible so they can finally travel home. 

Meanwhile, the official said that about 8,000 others are still waiting for their test results.

Balilo also confirmed that from all of the overseas Filipinos who arrived in the country so far, over 500 tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently being treated in government medical facilities. 

The list of names of OFWs with negative COVID-19 results may be viewed through PCG’s social media account. 

On Thursday (May 21), 41 seafarers whose jobs abroad were affected by the pandemic, finally boarded the service vessel which will bring them home to Visayas and Mindanao.

Despite the circumstances, the seafarers said they are just looking on the brighter side of the situation.

They are still thankful that they may now spend more time with their family.

Makakasama (ko na ang mga) bata. Take this opportunity na i-enjoy ang mga bata at ang pamilya, [I can now be with my children. Take this opportunity to enjoy time with the kids and family,” said Terresa Peres.

Sa bahay lang siguro kasi pagdating namin sa Bohol another 14 days na naman na quarantine, [I might stay at home because upon arrival in Bohol I will need another 14 days in quarantine],” added Alfonzo Baleleng.

Maraming salamat po sa mga sumuporta, sa nag-a-asikaso po sa amin, at sa agency po namin, lalo na sa government po natin na sinisikap po nila na mapauwi tayo lahat dito [I thank everyone for the support, to those who attended to our needs, to our agency and especially to our government for exerting efforts to bring us home],” expressed Vergintino Cagata. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

293 passengers stranded in Bicol ports due to Typhoon ‘Ambo’

Robie de Guzman   •   May 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Thursday reported that hundreds of passengers are currently stranded at various ports in Bicol due to the onslaught of Typhoon Ambo.

The PCG said that as of 12 p.m. on May 14, a total of 293 cargo drivers and helpers are stranded in ports after the typhoon forced the suspension of sea trips.

The operation of 133 rolling cargoes and five cargo vessels are also temporarily suspended, while 17 vessels and two motorbancas are taking shelter in the region.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported that Typhoon ‘Ambo’ has made a landfall in San Policarpio, Eastern Samar at around 12:15 p.m.

The state weather bureau said the typhoon is expected to bring heavy to torrential rains and violent winds over parts of Samar, and northern and eastern Samar.

Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal (TCWS) No. 3 has been raised in the following areas in Bicol and Visayas areas:

  • Sorsogon
  • Albay
  • Ticao Island
  • Northern Samar
  • The northern portion of Eastern Samar (Jipapad, Arteche, Maslog, Dolores, Oras, San Policarpio, Canavid, Taft, Sulat, San Julian, Borongan City, Maydolon)
  • The northern portion of Samar (Calbayog City, Sta. Margarita, Gandara, Pagsanghan,San Jorge, Matuguinao, San Jose de Buan, Catbalogan, Jiabong, Motiong, Paranas, Tarangnan, San Sebastian, Hinabangan)

TCWS No. 2, meanwhile, was hoisted over:

  • Southern portion of Quezon (Pagbilao, Atimonan, Padre Burgos, Plaridel, Agdangan, Unisan, Gumaca, Pitogo, Macalelon, Lopez, Caluag, General Luna, Catanauan, Perez, Alabat, Quezon, Tagkawayan, Guinayangan, Buenavista, San Narciso, Mulanay, San Andres, San Francisco),
  • Camarines Norte
  • Camarines Sur
  • Catanduanes
  • Burias Island
  • mainland Masbate
  • Marinduque
  • Biliran
  • The rest of Samar
  • The rest of Eastern Samar

Those under Signal No. 1 are:

  • Aurora
  • the southern portion of Nueva Ecija (General Mamerto Natividad, Palayan City, Cabanatuan, Santa Rosa, Jaen, San Isidro, San Antonio, Cabiao, Bongabon, Gabaldon, General Tinio, Laur, San Leonardo, Peñaranda, Gapan City)
  • Bulacan
  • Metro Manila
  • Cavite
  • Laguna
  • Batangas
  • Rizal
  • The rest of Quezon
  • Romblon
  • Bataan
  • Pampanga
  • Northern portion of Leyte (Calubian, San Isidro, Tabango, Villaba, Leyte, Kananga, Capoocan, Carigara, Barugo, San Miguel, Babatngon, Tunga, Jaro, Alangalang, Sta. Fe, Tacloban City, Palo, Pastrana, Dagami, Tabontabon, Tanauan, Tolosa, Ormoc City, Matag-ob, Palompon, Merida, Isabel, Albuera, Burauen, Julita, Dulag)

PAGASA advised residents in affected areas to take appropriate measures as incidents of flooding and rain-induced landslides are possible during heavy or prolonged rainfall.

The PCG earlier announced the cancellation of cargo vessel and fishing boat operations due to the effects of Typhoon Ambo.

It also advised its Districts and Stations across the country to prepare their personnel and assets to respond on emergency situations and to coordinate with their respective Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) for possible rescue operations and other related activities.

“Maritime activities will resume when the weather condition becomes normal, as may be declared by PAGASA,” the PCG said.

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