PCG signs tri-agency pact to enhance monitoring of marine environment

Published January 25, 2023, 2:42 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) forged an agreement with the National Coast Watch Center (NCWC) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Tuesday, Jan. 24, to improve the monitoring of the country’s marine environment.

Photo: Philippine Coast Guard / PCG

Admiral Artemio Abu, PCG Commandant, Rear Adm. Roy Echeverria, NCWC Director, and lawyer Demosthenes Escoto, BFAR National Director, signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on the implementation of the Integrated Marine Environment Monitoring System (IMEMS) to formalize their partnership.

The ceremonial signing was held at the PCG headquarters in Port Area, Manila.

Under the MOA, the PCG shall “establish, operate, regulate, and maintain all vessel traffic and monitoring systems (VTMS) nationwide, both inland waters or at open sea within the country’s jurisdiction.”

Abu said the PCG will also conduct surveillance and inspection of all “suspected” persons, vessels, and watercraft navigating within the country’s waters including offshore platforms or oil rigs.

The PCG will also be tasked to enforce national and international maritime security laws and regulations, including but not limited to port state control implementation.

The BFAR is currently implementing the IMEMS to improve and extend its existing Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) capabilities.

Meanwhile, the NCWC shall develop and maintain an effective communications and information system to enhance inter-agency coordination in maritime security operations.