Four lighthouses were commissioned by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Batanes on Friday, Dec. 9, in a move seen to keep the identities of Ivatan people known worldwide.
Adm. Artemio Abu, PCG Commandant, led the commissioning ceremony of the lighthouses that the Coast Guard personnel installed recently in the municipalities of Sabtang, Mahato, Valanga, and Ivana.
In his speech, Abu said that the commissioning of the lighthouses was held to make Ivatans “known worldwide” as the facilities will be seen at navigational charts and maps of all vessels traversing the international waters.
“These lighthouses will serve as references to domestic and international seafarers. Ano po ang ibig sabihin? Makikilala na po ang Batanes sa buong mundo (What does this mean? Batanes will be known worldwide),” Abu said.
The lighthouses in the said areas guide motorbancas and vessels to ensure their safe passage and entry to ports and harbors. They also warn local fishermen and seafarers about Batanes’ shallow and perilous rocky coasts.
Meanwhile, Batanes Gov. Marilou Cayco said the lighthouses will boost the province’s eco-tourism as they continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic.
“The lighting of these facilities is a start of a new promising development for us as we continue to work on the recovery of our economy due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. May the light of these buildings radiate to all of us as a symbol of our Ivatan resiliency and strength,” she said.
The PCG also signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the municipality of Sabtang for the proposed donation of the lighthouse in Ivana to the Coast Guard.
The MOA was inked by Abu and Sabtang Mayor Precila Babalo during the lighting ceremony. The deal took effect immediately and will be valid for 20 years.
Under the said MOA, the PCG shall “maintain the Ivana lighthouse and perform needed repairs to ensure its highest level of operational efficiency.”
The PCG will also conduct a regular inspection and train a designated lighthouse keeper who will oversee the operation of the lighthouse, and help the local government of Sabtang in promoting their eco-tourism.
The local government of Sabtang, on the other hand, will facilitate the approval of the proposal including the lot in Barangay Malakdang where the lighthouse is situated.