To uphold a generally safe, peaceful, and secure election season, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Officer-in-Charge, CG Vice Admiral Eduardo D Fabricante has directed all PCG District, Station, and Sub-Station Commanders to assist the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in all of its election-related activities nationwide.
As an agency deputized by the COMELEC, the PCG, aside from deploying personnel and K9 teams for security augmentation, the PCG is also authorized to utilize land vehicles and floating assets, including rubber boats, aluminum boats, and small watercraft, if requested by the COMELEC or local government units (LGUs) for logistical purposes.
“As per the directive of Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, we are ready to provide available floating assets, even Coast Guard vessels, to transport COMELEC personnel, paraphernalia, and equipment to far-flung areas and coastal communities. Rest assured that the PCG will fully support the COMELEC in realizing a 2022 National Elections that is safe, accurate, free, and fair,” CG Vice Admiral Fabricante emphasized.
Furthermore, PCG units across the country are directed to (a) assist the COMELEC in implementing election laws, rules, and regulations, especially within the maritime jurisdiction of the country, including ports; (b) deploy troops for election duty; (c) look into the existence of any armed group organized to commit acts of terrorism; (d) conduct a periodic assessment of the peace and order conditions in the maritime jurisdiction of the country; (e) conduct inspections and emergency readiness evaluation on ships and vessels which carry persons performing election-related functions, as well as election paraphernalia, equipment, forms and supplies; (f) perform rescue operations to persons who, in the performance of election-related duties, are in distress at sea, and/or vessels in distress which are carrying election paraphernalia, equipment, forms and supplies; and (g) recommend measures which may be adopted by the COMELEC in the interest of free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.
Moreover, the Coast Guard Officer-in-Charge reminded all PCG personnel to refrain from engaging in any partisan political activities nationwide. According to CG Vice Admiral Fabricante, PCG personnel must exercise neutrality and adhere to the COMELEC regulations for government employees and uniformed service personnel at all times.
“PCG personnel, facilities, vehicles, and equipment must not be utilized by any local or national candidates for their campaigning, except to provide security augmentation, together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), which is performed under the supervision of the COMELEC,” CG Vice Admiral Fabricante added.
The Coast Guard Officer-in-Charge also warned PCG personnel that no one will be spared from the investigation, regardless of their ranks and/or designations if there are reports and evidence of their participation in electioneering activities and political campaigns.
“Those who will be found guilty of the said violation may face suspension, degradation, or dismissal from the service, depending on the gravity of their actuations,” he furthered.