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50 journalists, Navy personnel trained on scuba diving basics

Fifty media practitioners and Navy personnel were trained by the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (NFEM) on the basics of scuba diving in Vanishing Island, Island Garden City of Samal on Sunday.

In an interview at the island on Sunday, Commodore Antonio Palces, the NFEM commander, said the activity is part of their 28th anniversary celebration on Sept. 13. They also want to build a closer partnership with the local journalists.

“Because we believe that the media is very important partner of the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao. Without the media, the people will not know what Naval Forces here is doing and how we will be able to help them,” Palces said.

For the past two years, the NFEM always conducted a shooting competition with the media practitioners. This year, they decided to come up with scuba diving lessons as another way to build camaraderie.

“We have lots of seasoned divers here,” he said. “We have Navy Seals. I’m very confident that everybody would be safe because of them.”

One team of Navy Seals or the Naval Special Operations Unit (NAVSOU) 7 was deployed to assist the participants during the scuba diving. The team was composed of divers, seal operators, and special boat crew.

Before reaching the island, the participants rode a multi-purpose attack craft.

Meanwhile, he said he will be calling the local chief executives in the region to discuss maritime concerns. On Tuesday afternoon, they will call on Governor Edwin Jubahib of Davao del Norte.

“I want to get the cooperation of local government because this is what we did during my previous assignments and we found out that partnership with them is very important, especially in maritime activities,” he said.

“In the same manner, we will be able to capacitate the members of the local government, especially in performing maritime securities wherein we will be engaging the owners of the resort and we’ll be using them as an our eyes and ears by training and incapacitating them,” he added.

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