The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said it sent off vessels and Deployable Response Groups (DRGs) on April 8 signaling the start of PCG’s heightened alert status in time for Holy Week and summer vacation. The sent off ceremony was held at PCG National Headquarters.
PCG commandant Admiral Elson E Hermogino directed all PCG units to brace up security and safety measures on all ports and ferry terminals.
“All PCG Districts nationwide have corresponding K9 teams, special operations forces, harbor patrollers, and ship inspectors stationed in ports, directed to exercise extra vigilance in inspecting passengers and luggages to ascertain travel safety and security with medical teams ready to provide assistance in emergency cases,” PCG said.
It added that beaches are also monitored by coastal security and rescue personnel to augment as lifeguards.
“More so, the Multi-Role Response Vessel- 4402 (Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas Malabrigo), MRRV-4411 (BRP Cape Eñgano), and Fast Patrol Boat (FPB) 2404 (BRP Kalanggaman) represent all PCG floating assets strategically deployed in ports nationwide,” PCG said.
It noted that 21 vessels are ready for sail including two 55-meter Multi-Mission Offshore Vessels (MMOV), nine 44-meter MRRV, five 35-meter Monitoring Control Surveillance (MCS), one 25-meter Search and Rescue Vessel (SARV), and four 24-meter FPB aside from the other small crafts including two 12-meter high speed boats, ten 7-meter Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB), aluminum boats, and rubber boats.
PCG said that the prepartation is part of the directives of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur P. Tugade in order to provide comfortable and safe transport to all seagoing public who are expected to travel to and from their respective provinces and to different beach resorts and tourist destinations across the nation.
“Coast Guard units are also advised to ensure that all maritime activities are monitored 24/7 and that all PCG personnel and assets are ready to respond immediately to any maritime and land-based incident during this season,” PCG said.
The PCG Commandant also ordered to intensify the mandatory pre-departure inspection to prevent excess number of passengers and to ensure that vessels are seaworthy prior departure particularly their compliance for adequate number of lifesaving equipment and all other pertinent documents for safe voyage.
“All major seaports nationwide have been stationed with DOTr Malasakit Help Desk manned by PCG together with the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Office of the Transport Security (OTS), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) with Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) as the lead agency for Maritime Sector and Cebu Port Authority as lead agency for Cebu Ports Sector where assistance and complaints of the riding public can be addressed immediately,” PCG said.