Aside from maritime exercises, the PCG will also hold medical missions and relief operations in Southern Mindanao, particularly in the coastal municipalities of Sulu.
On 22 January 2021, PCG Commandant, Admiral George V Ursabia Jr visited the residents of Maimbung, Sulu and assured them that the PCG will regularly visit their municipality to bring needed public service, such as medical care and humanitarian support, especially in this time of pandemic.
The PCG is also set to transport COVID-19 vaccines to Tawi-Tawi, including the coastal municipalities of Mapun Island and Taganak Island, which are situated at the southern extreme of the Philippines.
According to Admiral Ursabia, the pursuit of said missions are manifestations of the PCG’s sincerity in fulfilling its mandate to be of service to fellow Filipinos across the country.
“Rest assured we will sustain our previous efforts in securing our maritime jurisdiction, especially the frontiers where we are needed most. As a matter of fact, for our fishermen and traditional maritime traders, we have already established a lighthouse at the southernmost islets of Panguan in Sitangkai and stationed personnel at Great Bacungan at the seams of the Turtle Islands, in addition to the upgrading of our station at the Municipality of Taganak in Tawi-Tawi,” Admiral Ursabia said.
“Moreso, vessel traffic monitoring and search and rescue facilities at the Sibutu passage and Basilan Straits are now in place. Vessels transiting this area are already better assured that a PCG unit can hear their distress calls from up to a hundred miles away through the several marine distress radio repeater stations indigenously developed and established even in unorthodox high grounds,” the Coast Guard Commandant added.
“And more timely response is forthcoming with more PCG vessels and Fast Response Boats now forward deployed at 47 stations and sub-stations. I am very proud to mention that our community presence in this area have expanded 130% due to the entry of locals to the PCG. We believe such organizational enhancements, social and technological innovations and infrastructure projects, among others, have significantly contributed in the decrease on seajacking reports in the south,” Admiral Ursabia expressed.
“Your PCG will continue to boost maritime security, maritime safety, and environmental protection in the Philippine jurisdiction, while upholding the greater good of the people we serve through various humanitarian initiatives for we believe that no one should be left behind,” the Coast Guard Commandant committed.
On 06 April 2021, Admiral Ursabia 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 on matters of policy and strategy, and operations respectively.
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.