The Philippines Coast Guard (PCG) in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental has increased its monitoring of sea-faring vessels this Christmas season since December 17, expecting more visitors and returning residents who will be spending their vacation in the city and in neighboring towns and cities. This was announced by Dumaguete Coast Guard Station Commander Donna Liza Ramacho, adding that this will be their alert status until the first week of January 2017.
Coast Guard put up Assistance Desk
In this implementation, they have put up public assistance desks in major ports in Dumaguete -as well as in other ports of Negros Oriental and Siquijor, the nearby island-province also under the area of jurisdiction of the Coast Guard Dumaguete Station. K-9 teams and special operations group personnel are available at these desks to make sure that passengers are safe and secure while traveling.
Ramacho said that the Coast Guard is keen on overloading of vessels which, if left unchecked, is likely to happen due to passengers who would like to take advantage of the holiday celebrations. For this, Ramacho said that she is always telling her personnel to always conduct a headcount and a recount of passengers prior to clearing the vessel to leave the port. For bigger vessels that will travel for long hours, it is customary that Coast Guard personnel are on board as sea marshals. In Dumaguete, only those of 2GO shipping lines traveling to Manila for almost 22 hours have sea marshals.
In addition, constant and regular monitoring and reporting are done by skippers or boat captains which serve for many purposes. Every hour or so, reports are given to the Coast Guard to determine current sea condition. This is also part of the activities recommended by the joint Task Group on Anti-Terror Threat when some reports said that Dumaguete City and other parts of the Visayas are potential targets of kidnapping activities of threat groups.
Ramacho also announced that a D-300 patrol boat currently on standby in Cebu is ready for deployment to augment existing vessels at the Dumaguete Office.