Usec. Elmer Francisco U. Sarmiento attends Coast Guard Districts’ Joint Anniversary Ceremony

Usec. Elmer Francisco U. Sarmiento attends Coast Guard Districts’ Joint Anniversary Ceremony

UNDERSECRETARY for Maritime, Department of Transportation – Philippines, Elmer Francisco U Sarmiento graced the Joint Anniversary Ceremony of Coast Guard District Southwestern Mindanao (CGDSWM) and Coast Guard District Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (CGDBARMM) at Glass House, Astoria Regency, Pasonanca, Zamboanga City on 31 May 2024.

During his sched-tight visit, Undersecretary Sarmiento witnessed firsthand the exemplary efforts of the Coast Guard Districts and has expressed his admiration for the District’s achievements and their commitment to maritime safety and law enforcement.

In his opening speech, Undersecretary Sarmiento commended the Coast Guard’s remarkable accomplishments as showcased in the Commander’s report. He re-echoed that from 2021 to 2024, there were no reported instances of piracy or maritime abduction. The search and rescue operations in 2023-2024 saved 87 individuals, earning immense gratitude from their families.

The district also rescued 25 victims of human trafficking between October 2023 and April 2024. Law enforcement efforts led to the apprehension of a truck carrying undocumented mahogany flitches, the seizure of PHP 42 million worth of smuggled rice, and the interception of PHP 323.6 million worth of smuggled cigarettes. Additionally, CGDSWM has maintained an effective zero oil spill management, with no Tier 2 or Tier 3 oil spills recorded within their area of responsibility, reflecting their commitment to environmental protection.

To boot, it is the first time in PCG’s history wherein two districts were united under one command, led by the ever-passionate, dedicated, and highly patriotic District Commander, CG COMMO Marco Antonio P. Gines. The unique geographical features and intricate network of islands in Southwestern Mindanao and BARMM present both opportunities and challenges.

These areas are vital trade routes and fishing grounds, demanding a specialized approach to maritime safety, law enforcement, and environmental protection. The personnel of these districts, as commended by Usec Sarmiento, have consistently demonstrated their ability to navigate these complexities with excellence, perfectly resonating with the anniversary theme: “Archipelagic Imperative: Stronger Coast Guarding throughout our Philippine Waters.”

The Undersecretary’s speech also highlighted the Coast Guard Modernization plans, which include acquiring more floating assets and developing domestic floating parking areas, garnering cheers from the audience. He also mentioned ongoing efforts to balance the recruitment of officers in the middle section which is very timely in the recent hiring of personnel in the Philippine Coast Guard.


Editor’s Note: This article has been sourced from the Philippine Coast Guard – Philippines Facebook Page.


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