Coast Guard gears up for rainy season

MANILA -- The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has ordered all its units nationwide to implement measures to prevent loss of lives and damage to property from maritime and land-based accidents in preparation for the rainy season.

Coast Guard commandant, Admiral Elson Hermogino, instructed all rescue units nationwide, such as disaster response and quick reaction teams composed of divers, rescue swimmers, paramedics and K-9 units, should be on the highest level of readiness at any given time.

In addition, safety inspectors should exercise extra vigilance in undertaking maritime safety-related measures, such as intensifying inspection of ships prior to departure; ensuring vessels have no unauthorized passengers in conformance with the allowed passenger capacity on board to avoid overloading of vessels; checking of life jackets and fire-fighting equipment; strengthening its public awareness campaign to highlight safety during inclement weather, especially to the fishing community; and non-patronage of colorum inter-island watercraft, the Department of Transportation said in a statement on Friday.

All Coast Guard units nationwide were also tasked to coordinate and encourage operational cooperation with other government agencies, such as the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, as well as the Philippine Red Cross, to ensure community safety.

The directive was made after the PCG launched its newly acquired assets for rescue equipment at its headquarters in Manila last Thursday.

The Coast Guard acquired 20 new aluminum boats from Pacificfortia Marine Technologies, with a speed of 20 knots, for PHP16 million; and 20 personal watercraft from Scan Marine Inc., with a maximum speed of 40 knots, were bought for PHP15.5 million. It likewise purchased 180 new units of Toyota Hilux worth about PHP142 million.

The Coast Guard is also expecting 73 rubber boats with outboard motor worth PHP86 million, and 12 seven-meter rigid hull inflatable boats worth PHP142 million later this year.

The new rescue craft, which will be manned by the Coast Guard Special Operations Force and rescue personnel, will be distributed to PCG units nationwide, particularly those in flood-prone areas.

The weather bureau has said that the onset of the rainy season is expected within the next two weeks. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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