Bacolod: Strong Coast Guard presence essential for safety, guv says

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(Photo courtesy of PCG via TDG)

Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson emphasized the need for a strong Coast Guard presence to ensure the security and protection of both the environment and people.

Lacson met with officers, guests, and participants of this year’s Regional Marine Pollution Exercise (MARPOLEX) during its farewell dinner and closing ceremony held recently.

As an archipelago surrounded by bodies of water and with a coastline spanning thousands of kilometers, the unwavering service of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) guarantees the safety and security of the seas, the lives of the people, and the integrity of the environment.

The Philippine Visayas maritime region is endowed with incredible natural beauty, thriving biodiversity, and abundant resources, according to Lacson.

With the remarkable demonstration of skills, coordination, dedication, and collaboration among nations, Lacson is confident that the knowledge and experiences gained by the Coast Guard through MARPOLEX will be invaluable in the ongoing efforts to protect marine resources.

The governor thanked those involved in making MARPOLEX 2024 a success, adding that the presence of the PCG and its partner nations is a testament to a shared commitment to safeguarding the marine environment, fostering international cooperation, and enhancing collective preparedness against marine pollution.

He also expressed his gratitude to the distinguished guests from Japan and Indonesia for their unwavering commitment and for traveling great distances to share their expertise. “Your contributions have enriched this exercise, and we look forward to continued collaboration in the years ahead,” he said.

Meanwhile, Coast Guard Vice Admiral Rolando Lizor Punzalan Jr., deputy commandant for operations of PCG, said that the contingents’ proper training has molded them into capable leaders.

“As we have all witnessed, our men demonstrated courage, capability, preparedness, and readiness in their dedication to oil spill response. This clearly shows that they have learned from previous MARPOLEX exercises, which have helped them become experts in combating oil spill incidents,” he added.

Looking ahead, Punzalan noted that vast technological developments in the maritime industry seem promising, as they serve as valuable assets, enhancing the efficient management of oil spill responses, firefighting, and search and rescue operations. He stressed that this will reduce the burden on personnel while delivering equal or even better results.

He lauded all the participants for giving their best in meeting the event’s objectives. “We stand prepared to confront any potential disasters that may threaten our nations with absolute confidence,” he said.

The PCG hosted this year’s MARPOLEX in Bacolod City, with participation from the Japan and Indonesia Coast Guards and observers from the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, and the United States from June 24 to 28. This activity is conducted every two years.

The exercises were held at the Bacolod Real Estate Development Corp. (Bredco) port on June 26. Vessels that participated included Japan’s PLH 02 TSUGARU, Indonesia’s KN TRISULA P111, PCG’s BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV 8301), MRRV 4408-BRP Cape San Agustin, TB 271-BRP Habagat, and FPB 2404-BRP Kalanggaman.

Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez expressed his gratitude for the Coast Guards’ unwavering commitment to ensuring maritime safety. “At the end of the day, there is only one world that we have to take care of,” he added. (Glazyl Masculino via The Daily Guardian)

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