Utilizing eight capital ships of the national government, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) have stepped up the conduct of comprehensive maritime exercises in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) yesterday, 24 April 2021. 

Crewmembers of participating PCG vessels, as well as PCG-manned BFAR vessels have started their intensified training on navigation, small boat operations, maintenance, and logistical operations.

The BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301) and BRP Sindangan (MRRV-4407) started their maritime exercises near the Bajo De Masinloc yesterday, while the BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409), BRP Malapascua (MRRV-4403) and PCG-manned BFAR vessels commenced their ship interoperability training near the Pag-asa Island last week.

On board their respective vessels, other PCG personnel, composed of lawyers, medical doctors, nurses, rescue swimmers, weapons, communications, and information systems technicians, and other maritime specialists, also undergo lectures and drills on manual plotting, piloting, firefighting, and basic life support.

PCG Spokesperson, Commodore Armando Balilo said the maritime exercises led by the Task Force Pagsasanay are intended to achieve operational and logistical efficiency to optimize the utilization of Coast Guard’s manpower and assets through a harmonized command and control, and supply chain.

“We are supporting the whole-of-nation approach in securing our maritime jurisdiction, especially the efforts of the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) to undertake maritime security, maritime safety, maritime law enforcement, maritime search and rescue, and marine environmental protection roles in our country’s waters,” the Coast Guard Spokesperson added.

Aside from the WPS, said capital ships will also perform maritime exercises in the Batanes Group of Islands, Benham Rise, as well as in the southern and eastern portions of the Philippines.

Staying true to its humanitarian mandate, the PCG is also planning to conduct medical and dental missions among local residents and coastal families in the Pag-asa Island next week.

On 06 April 2021, PCG Commandant, Admiral George V Ursabia Jr has directed the activation of Task Force Pagsasanay, with Vice Admiral Oscar Endona, Commander of the PCG’s Maritime Security Command, as head, as well as Rear Admiral Ronnie Gil Gavan and Rear Admiral Allan Dela Vega as decision makers on matters of policies and operations.

The Task Force Pagsasanay aims to intensify and harmonize the capacity building and sustainment efforts for PCG personnel and assets deployed in 15 PCG Districts, specifically in safeguarding the Philippine waters.