The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) continues its humanitarian mission at sea dubbed as the ‘BAYANIHAN SA KARAGATAN’, aiding hundreds of local fishermen in various vicinity waters in the country.
In partnership with the PCG Auxiliary (PCGA) and other concerned organizations, PCG units in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao distribute fresh vegetables and fruits, sacks of rice, canned goods, medical supplies, and other basic necessities to local residents who venture at sea to catch fish. Said humanitarian mission is being conducted during regular coastal patrol to uphold maritime security and maritime safety in the country’s borders.
The ‘BAYANIHAN SA KARAGATAN’ commenced at the vicinity waters off Bajo de Masinloc as one of the activities of the Task Force Pagsasanay in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), helping at least 20 local fishermen on 24 to 25 April 2021.
It was followed by a generous joint effort of the PCG Station in Camarines Sur, PCG Sub-Station in Balatan, 907th PCGA Squadron, and the local government unit (LGU) of Balatan, supporting over 75 local fishermen at the vicinity waters off Balatan, Camarines Sur on 26 April 2021.
These humble initiatives created a ‘snowball effect’ among PCG units in various regions across the country.
On 29 April 2021, Lieutenant Commander Gerald Anderson of the PCGA personally sought the assistance of the PCG Sub-Station in Botolan, Zambales for the distribution of 100 relief packs he prepared in support of the ‘BAYANIHAN SA KARAGATAN’.
On 30 April 2021, several balikbayan boxes from overseas Filipinos based in the United States arrived at the PCG National Headquarters in Port Area, Manila. The supplies were immediately distributed among local fishermen in Scarborough Shoal and the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) through the BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301), BRP Malapascua (MRRV-4403), and BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409).
On 04 May 2021, the PCG Station in Camarines Sur and the 907th PCGA Squadron distributed, not only food supplies, but also financial assistance to approximately 100 fishermen at the vicinity waters off Tinambac, Camarines Sur. Majority of those who benefitted from this mission were young children and senior citizens who venture at sea to provide food to their families.
The ‘BAYANIHAN SA KARAGATAN’ also occurred in Tandag City and Bislig City in Surigao del Sur, Pasacao in Camarines Sur, Cadiz City in Negros Occidental, as well as in Limay and Mariveles in Bataan.
Moreover, fisherfolk in El Nido, Palawan received relief packs from PCG personnel on board MB Excalibur (MB-0109) – the speedboat donated by Department of Transportation - Philippines (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade and Commodore Paul Louie Tugade of the PCGA. Said humanitarian mission happened on 04 June 2021.
To further expand the impact of the ‘BAYANIHAN SA KARAGATAN’, the PCG partnered with the Operation Brotherhood Montessori Center (OBMC) for the provision of relevant educational equipment and school supplies for the students of Pag-asa Island in Kalayaan, Palawan.
Through Commodore Sara Soliven – De Guzman of the PCGA, the OBMC has committed to provide the education needs of the children by fully adopting the Pag-asa Elementary School. This is to ensure that they will be able to expand their educational experience through online learning.
As the only humanitarian armed service in the country, the PCG is committed to bring about positive change to the lives of fellow Filipinos, including those who are residing in far-flung coastal communities.
During the Command Conference at the National Headquarters on 03 June 2021, Secretary Tugade personally expressed his sincere appreciation to the humble efforts of the PCG, especially amid the ongoing pandemic.
For his part, PCG Commandant, Admiral George V Ursabia Jr assured the good Secretary that the ‘BAYANIHAN SA KARAGATAN’ will continue, not only to extend assistance to fellow Filipinos, but more importantly, to inspire others to also help local fisherfolk and residents of coastal communities who are greatly affected during this trying time.