MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine Navy (PN) will jointly conduct offshore patrol on Philippine West Sea (PWS), a task mandated under the newly-created National Coast Watch System (NCWS) by virtue of Executive Order No. 57, signed and issued by President Benigno C. Aquino III last September.
Addressing the PCG graduating class of Advance Boarding Officers’ Course (ABOC) conducted by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Mobile Training Team held at the PCG headquarters last week, newly-named PCG chief of staff Commodore Aaron T. Reconquista said, of late, the PCG has been mandated with a leading role in the West Philippine Sea in terms of enforcement of national laws particularly relative to customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ).
Reconquista underscored the US team of instructors for sharing their expertise, knowledge and skills with the PCG, particularly the members of PCG special operations group (SOG) headed by Cdr. Marco Antonio Gines, who, undoubtedly acquired knowledge and skills from the four-week training course – two weeks spent in training instructors-counterparts, and two weeks in training new 26 students on advance boarding course. “We are indebted to the US government for extending to us this assistance and to the United States Coast Guard (ASCG) mobile training team facilitated by the US embassy staff,” he said.
He extended the warm felicitations and words of thanks of the whole PCG headed by its commandant Vice Admiral Edmund C. Tan to US embassy deputy economic counselor Mr. Brent Christensen, US charge’ d Affaires Ms. Leslie Basset, Export control and Boarding Security (EXBS)regional advisor Mike Mcnamara, US naval attache to the Philippines Capt. Jack Sotherland, and the entire USCG Mobile training team for the time they shared with the PCG, who benefited from the training course.
The conduct of the ABOC is really quite timely, said Reconquista. “Today’s terrorists are not particularly concern about converts, and rather than wanting a seat at the table, they want to destroy the table and everyone sitting on it,!” stressed the PCG chief of staff.
Reconquista, an alumnus of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and the United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA), disclosed that the 2nd USCG cutter will be handed over to the Philippine Navy soon. Expressing excitement, he told US brass present at the rites, “perhaps through your representation, the 3rd USCG cutter would be for the PCG, as the trend in maritime law enforcement is shifting to law enforcer operators like the Coast Guard, in contrast to the aggressive nature of the ‘gray ships.”
President Benigno Aquino III created the National Coast Watch System (NCWS) to expand the country’s naval and maritime security operations to preserve the Philippine territory, protect its people and resources from maritime threats, through Executive Order No. 57 that has made the NCWS the ‘central inter-agency mechanism’ for a more coordinated approach on maritime issues, and security operations, to enhance governance of the country’s maritime domain.’
By YUL MALICSE
February 23, 2012, 2:33pm