Aquino thanks Coast Guard for preventing tension in West Philippine Sea
MANILA, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday thanked the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for upholding maritime security and preventing incidents that may result in tension in West Philippine Sea.
During the Philippine Coast Guard’s 113th Anniversary celebration in Manila, Aquino said he was glad that the PCG is closely coordinating with agencies like the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources “upang hangga’t maaari ay walang makalusot na anumang insidente , na maaaring magtaas ng tensyon sa West Philippine Sea (so as much as possible there would be no incident that may heighten tension in West Philippine Sea).”
The Philippines has had standoffs with China in the West Philippine Sea over maritime disputes. The country has also been in tense situations over arrested poachers in the area, including a shooting incident between the PCG and Taiwanese fishermen.
Aquino said the Coast Guard’s duty was no small task since it has to oversee the country’s 36,289-kilometer coastline, which is the fourth longest in the world.
“Ipinapakita ng mga numerong ito hindi lamang ang lawak ng teritoryong kailangan na ninyong i-patrolya, kundi ang lawak din ng inyong serbisyo bilang mga unipormadong kawani ng gobyerno,” he said.
(These numbers show not only the extent of the territory you need to patrol, but also the extent of your service as uniformed personnel of the government.)
He said the PCG played a vital role as protectors of people and the environment and law enforcers against smuggling, human trafficking and poaching.
The President explained that the challenges faced by the Coast Guard are evolving, especially with the effects of climate change since they are also responsible for keeping fishermen and sea passengers safe.
He said it was clear that the PCG is among the agencies at the frontline of the country’s coastal defense, which was why there is a need to modernize their equipment.
“Kung anong sigasig at dedikasyon ang ipinapamalas ninyo sa serbisyo, sinusuklian ito ng sapat na pagkilala at pag-aruga ng inyong gobyerno. Iyan po ang batayang prinsipyo ng isinusulong nating modernisasyon ng inyong mga kagamitan at pagpapaunlad ng inyong kakayahan,” Aquino said.
(The dedication and perseverance you’ve shown in service is answered with recognition and care from your government. That is the basic principle of the modernization of your equipment and the upgrading of your capabilities.)
Before his speech, the President led the presentation of awards to recognize the achievements of PCG officers and personnel. The awardees included “Bosh,” a PCG Labrador that helped in the recovery operations after the 7.2-magnitude Bohol earthquake.
Recently procured aluminum boats and diving equipment were also presented to Aquino.
During his welcoming remarks, PCG Commandant VAdm. Rodolfo Isorena thanked Aquino for the modernization of the agency.
Isorena said the PCG now has 300 additional aluminum boats, 40 rubber boats, 36 staff vehicles and 46 lighthouses, among others. Aquino himself said that they are targeting a total of 113 new lighthouses.
The agency is also looking forward to 15 new ships from Japan and France, which will be delivered next year, and two medium-size light helicopters requested for 2016, Isorena said.
Meanwhile, the President said he was “excited” for the completion of the National Coast Watch Center in April 2015, which will serve as a central hub for the various agencies working together to keep watch of the Philippines’ seas.
“Ang lahat po ng mga inisyatibang ito nakaangkla sa iisang prinsipyo: ang pagiging handa sa anumang problema o tensyong maaaring maganap sa ating karagatan,” Aquino said.
(All of our initiatives are anchored on one principle: to be ready for any problem or tension that may happen in our seas.)
The PCG, the country’s maritime agency responsible for ensuring safety of people and property at sea, is an attached agency of the Department of Transportation and Communications.
Originally posted: 11:56 am | Thursday, October 16th, 2014
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