By Betheena Kae Unite
When the Bureau of Customs embarks on developing its water patrol border security force next year, it can expect the Philippine Coast Guard’s expertise to backstop its mission.
Vice Admiral Joel Garcia has committed to support the Customs bureau to “man and operate 20 Customs-owned patrol boats” that are expected to arrive in the country in 2020.
Garcia and Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero, whose organizations have been closely coordinating under the President’s order to augment the Customs bureau with military force and Coast Guard men in its operations, fortified their joint efforts on maritime security and anti-corruption drive.
The two leaders, according to Coast Guard, recently met to “discuss how both parties could jointly manage trade and commerce in the southern border of the Philippines, in line with the ASEAN Economic Integration.”
The Coast Guard commandant also committed to train Customs security personnel, in support of Guerrero’s drive against smugglers and corrupt workers in the bureau.
Captain Allen Dalangin, commander of Coast Guard’s Task Force Aduana, has vowed to strictly implement the orders of Guerrero to crack down on all illegal activities in the Customs bureau.
Earlier, joint operations between the two agencies resulted in the arrest of a broker representative and a Customs personnel who accepted bribe from processors.
Meanwhile, delegates from the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency arrived in Cebu Tuesday to undergo a two-day workshop on the development of the implementing guidelines of the Memorandum of Understanding on maritime security cooperation.
Joint patrols in the borders of the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia were discussed during the workshop to protect each country’s boarder against terrorism, piracy, and illegal drugs.
Garcia also toured the delegates around Coast Guard District in Central Visayas and showcased its facilities such as the Vessel Traffic Management System, Cyber Management Center, and the Regional Coordinating Center – Central.