THE 25TH PCGA NATIONAL CONVENTION IN BACOLOD CITY
Last 21-23 May 2009, the 25th PCGA Annual National Convention was held at Bacolod Pavilion Resort Hotel, Bacolod City. The said National Convention was attended by about 400 PCGA volunteers, 10 Coast Guard District Commanders, CG Major Unit Commanders and some HPCG Central and Special Staff. The Honorable DOTC Secretary Larry R Mendoza was the Guest of Honor during the Opening Ceremony while Senator Francis Escudero and Congressman Monico Puntabella were the invited resource speakers of the convention. The theme of the convention was “A New ERA of Commitment and Unity”
The following are some important outputs of the just concluded PCGA Annual National Convention a) Resolutions for the establishment of Maritime Search and Rescue Unit, Marine Environmental Protection Unit, Maritime Safety Unit, and Community Relations Unit in every PCGA District; b) Resolution for the Approval of the Amendments of 2008 PCGA Manual c) Signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between the PCGA and the PLS or Philippine Life Saving, Inc. and; d) the launching of the CGADWV PCGA Training Manual, Indoctrination Manual, and Sea Scout Manual.
THE USCGA NATIONAL CONFERENCE IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
The Philippine Delegation composed of PCG and PCGA Officers headed by Auxiliary VADM Eduardo R. Alvares attended the USCGA National Conference held at Marriot Oak Brook Hills, Oakbrook, Chicago, Illinois, USA last 27-29 August 2009. The said conference featured several interesting workshops, lectures and discussions; all of which addressed the many aspects of lives of volunteer life-savers like the auxiliaries.
One surprise event on the second day of the conference was the conferring of the Honorary Lifetime USCGA membership to A/VADM Eduardo R Alvares and A/COMMO Harold Wolf for their outstanding efforts and contribution for the organization of the Asia Pacific Network of Maritime Search and Rescue Organization among the volunteer organization in the region. The following were the other highlights of the NACON: On the first day (27 August 09), the participants were treated to the different unique foods and drinks coming from the various USCGA Districts;
On the second day (28 August 09), all delegates were invited to a costume theme reception where all guest were dressed in “Gangsters “Attire; On the third day (29 August 09) which is the last day is the National Commodore’s Banquet wherein the Commandant of the US Coast Guard, Admiral Thad William Allen, was the Keynote Speaker.
SEA SCOUT TRANING
The summer of 2009 was very meaningful and fruitful season for our youth in Cebu, Palawan and Iloilo. A total of more or less 300 youth from the three mention places underwent training on the sea scouting which featured lectures and practicals on swimming, basic lifesaving skills, marine environmental protection exercises, Sea Scout discipline, among others. The sea scouts were sourced from among the Senior Scouts of the Boy Scout of the Philippines and Girl Scout of the Philippines. The training was by the training teams from PCG, PCGA, Philippine National Red Cross, and other NGOs who are experts in the respective fields.
SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS IN BOTOLAN, ZAMBALES
In the surge of the tropical storm KIKO, whereas, it has brought continues heavy rains to the northern part of the Philippines particularly in Zambales hundreds of its residents were displace due to severe flooding following the collapse of the San Juan dike brought by the storm. It affected (8) Barangays where more than (800) eight hundred residents needed immediate rescue and evacuation as well as necessary medical treatment as assistance.
On the evening of 06 August 2009, while tropical storm rampaged the coastal town of Botolan, rescue teams from different PCG units were organized and directed to respond to said emergency. Two (2) teams of the Coast Guard SOG divers equipped with diving gears and rubber boats were immediately dispatched to the site render necessary assistance. Also, a team from of the Coast Guard Special Medical Advance Rescue Team (SMART) was likewise dispatch to assist in the conduct of disaster response operations.
In addition, air and surface assets of the Command were also dispatch support of the SAR Operations in the area. Coast Guard Air Group provided one (1) fixed-wing and one (1) rotary aircraft on 07 0730H August 2009 in the support of the overall operations. The rescue vessel BRP Davao Del Norte (SARV-3504) on the other hand, was directed to conduct coastal patrol along the shorelines of affected coastal barangays. Personnel from the Coast Guard Station Subic under Coast Guard District Capital Region-Central Luzon (CGDNCR-CL) brought me one (1) rubber boat taken from the SARV-3504 which also proceeded to the scene to assist in the said operations with assistance from the local Coast Guard Auxiliary Squadron members. A continuous monitoring of SAR operations development in the area was established in the Coast Guard Action Center in order to monitor for much needed assistance in affected of flooded areas.
In recognition of the successful evacuation rescue, medical treatment and assistance rendered to the flooded victims no less than the Coast Guard Commandant ADMIRAL Wilfredo D. Tamayo awarded the Coast Guard Merit Medal to the 9 officers and 42 enlisted personnel who untiringly devoted their time and effort carrying out the mission done at the Headquarters Philippine Coast Guard on August 14, 2009. Admiral Tamayo elated for the rescue teams proven readiness to respond to the call of duty by providing assistance in time of national emergency and distress. Their meritorious service specifically their prompt, courageous and skillful act and sterling demonstration of teamwork manifested during the mission. This only proves that PCG is committed for selfless service, always ready to save lives.
Due recognition was emphasized by ADMIRAL TAMAYO for the 102nd Coast Guard Auxiliary Squadron based in Subic Zambales. He affirmed the readiness and commitment of the PCGA and other non-governmental organizations for leaving the comforts and convenience of their respective abodes to join the search and rescue operations and ultimately, in comforting those people who lost their homes because of the flood.
MANGROVE PLANTING IN CAVITE
On 06 June 2009 at 6 am in the morning, 41 PCGA members from the CGAD NCR-CL 101st, 104th, 112th, 116th, 125th, and 126th Squadrons trooped to their meeting place to join the marine Environmental Command mangrove planting in celebration of the 11th founding anniversary of Headquarters Marine Environmental Protection Command (HMEPCOM).
This mangrove planting activity was conducted at Barangay Bucana, Ternate, Cavite with Dra. Anna Marie Tamayo as Guest of Honor. Said activity was participated by HMEPCOM officers and men headed by Commodore Arturo Olavario PCG, different CGAD NCR-CL Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA) Squadrons, Brgy Officials and residents of Brgy Bucana Cavite PGENRO and Ternate PNP personnel numbering about one hundred fifty (150) persons in all. A total of one thousand six hundred (1600) mangrove propagules were planted in the said coastal barangay.
Mangrove tree planting is the one of the pro-active measures in the marine environmental protection by protecting the coastal areas from shoreline erosion as well as provide important marine ecosystem which serves as breeding grounds for the fishery and shrimps. The recently concluded mangrove planting activities serve as a reminder for coastal communities to also do their share in protecting the marine environment. It also serves as a venue for inter-agency cooperation as well as the PCGA’s partnership in this endeavor for the benefits of coastal communities.
The First Asia-Pacific Conference on Maritime Safety and environmental Concerns participated in seven countries namely: Australia, New Zealand, USA, Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines wherein at the end of the conference the attendees were able to vote and agreed to create the Asia Pacific Network of Maritime Search and Rescue Organizations. The Conference was attended by COMMO HAROLD WOLF PCGA and PADM BUDDY MENDOZA PCGA.
APNMSRO is a volunteer organization within the Asia Pacific region for joint cooperation and assistance to serve their respective communities in Search and Rescue (SAR) and Marine Environmental Protection (MEP), preparedness execution and training in support of, and complimentary to, the national Search and Rescue and Marine Environmental Protection agencies of the region.