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Maritime security exercise vs. terror a success: Coast Guard

Security forces led by the Coast Guard District Southeastern Mindanao (CGDSEM) conducted an inter-agency maritime law enforcement and search and rescue exercise in the shorelines and ports of the city.

The activity is in line also with the series of the activities in preparation for the Araw ng Dabaw, Ironman and the mid-term elections in May.

Commodore Roy Echeverria, the commander of Coast Guard, in an interview yesterday at the sidelines of the activity said the activity was very successful and showed them the gaps and weaknesses in the implementation of the security plan in the region.

Echeverria said that there are times communication with Navy and Coast Guard is good but sometimes it is not being heard by the Air Force.

“For the first initial exercise we conducted last August we have noted some lapses so we have improve on it and we were able to do that,” he said.

“We conducted coordination meeting, communication exercises before we have problems on what frequency we will standby in order to be heard by everyone,” he added. “So this time it was very improved,” he further said.

Present during the activity were Councilor Mabel Acosta, the chair on peace and order committee; Benito De Leon, the chief of Public Safety and Security Command Center; Maj. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr., the commander of 10th Infantry Division; Commodore Ramil Enriquez, the commander of Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao; Col. Sharon Gernale, commander of Tactical Operations Wing Eastern Mindanao; Col. Nolasco Mempin, commander of Task Force Davao; and Naval Forces Special Operations Group.

Also present were Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency XI chief Antonio Rivera; Sr. Supt Andrew Cayad, the chief of the Maritime Police Group; Maritime Industry Authority XI, and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources XI.

Based on the scenario during the exercise, the National Coordinating Agency (NICA) XI received an information that one unknown vessel was heading to the coast. It was reportedly hijacked by terrorists carrying explosives, drugs, and smuggled goods. They also had hostages with them.

The information was passed to the Maritime Coordinating Council and concerned law enforcers. The PSSCC then declared a lockdown of the coastal areas, including ports.

In the end, the security forces were able to neutralize the terrorists and rescue the hostages.

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