The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has activated PCG TASK FORCE KALIGTASAN SA KARAGATAN to effectively enforce laws and regulations relevant to the promotion of safety of life and property at sea within Philippine maritime jurisdiction, pursuant to Republic Act No. 9993 or the PCG Law of 2009.
PCG Commandant, Admiral George V Ursabia Jr has designated Vice Admiral Artemio Abu, together with Rear Admiral Joseph Coyme and Commodore Charlie Rances, to lead the Task Force composed of 19 task groups operational in all PCG districts, especially in Northwestern Luzon, Northeastern Luzon, Palawan, and the National Capital Region – Central Luzon.
Through the activation of the PCG Task Force Kaligatasan sa Karagatan, PCG assets shall be utilized to intensify the enforcement of all domestic and international maritime laws, treaties, conventions, and applicable memorandum circulars issued by the PCG pertinent to maritime safety.
As the Commander of PCG’s Maritime Safety Services, Vice Admiral Abu shared that considering PCG’s mandate to develop, establish, maintain, and operate aids to navigation, the Task Force shall support the achievement of the highest level of operational efficiency of all aids to navigation in the country, specifically light stations and ocean buoys.
“We will be focusing only on activities that are doable, tangible, and with high impact on the safety aspect of our job, not to mention the desire to advance our sovereignty interest,” Vice Admiral Abu said during the coordinating meeting of PCG Task Force Kaligatasan sa Karagatan on 04 August 2021.
The Task Force Commander also emphasized the need to enhance arrangement with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), specifically on the maintenance of PPA-procured buoys. Coordination with the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF – WPS) shall also be prioritized towards swift installation of sovereign markers within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
More importantly, the Task Force shall be aggressive in delivering maritime safety-related services nationwide, to be implemented by the 19 task groups.
“Rest assured we will provide assistance in the education and development of Coast Guard personnel by providing exercises and seminars related to maritime safety. They will be trained in manning Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS), deploying maritime search and rescue teams, and conducting marine casualty investigations, among others,” Vice Admiral Abu added.
Above all, the PCG Task Force Kaligtasan sa Karagatan shall ensure that the men and women of the PCG are highly skilled in the implementation of vessel safety enforcement, port state control, and recreational safety inspections – all to strengthen the PCG’s response and presence in the Philippine maritime domain, most especially as protectors of local and international seafarers.