BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has kept an eye on the issues on terrorism, drug smuggling and illegal fishing in Negros Island.
Commander Alberto T. Ferre of the BRP Gabriela Silang told DNX that illegal fishing is the biggest threat on the maritime safety of the Negros island.
“Mostly it is still on the illegal fishing. Marami siyang (Negros) fishing ground but then maraming nag-i-incur din na fishing boats din na hindi sumusunod sa mga regulations,” Ferre said.
He said they have been monitoring drug smugglers but have not intercepted any attempts to smuggle in narcotics. In terms of terrorism, the commander said Negros island is not as vulnerable as the southern part of the country, adding that only ‘petty’ crimes such as extortion to fishermen are the problems faced in the island’s coastline.
The 60-man crew has focused on humanitarian mission and relief operations in this time of pandemic and other calamities that occur.
Ferre added with the Duterte administration, there has been a huge improvement on the modernization of assets and facilities of the Philippine Coastguard.
BFP Gabriela Silang is the biggest and the flagship offshore patrol vessel of the PCG. Ferre said the French-built 84-meter offshore patrol vessel has the capability to assist in fire incidents and surveillance system.