MANILA — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Monday said it had no reason to have misunderstandings with its counterparts from neighboring countries.
This, as PCG Commandant Adm. Artemio Abu and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian held last week a meeting that Abu described as "cordial."
Before the meeting, Abu had attended the ASEAN Coast Guard and Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies Meeting 2022 in Bali, Indonesia in October, noting that region’s coast guards affirmed the need to have close cooperation.
“Ang napag-usapan namin doon ay akin ding naging instrumento during my meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines. Naging instrumento ko ito para ihayag sa kanya na ang mga coast guard sa region ay nagkakaisa kung kaya walang dahilan para kung sino mang coast guard ay hindi magkaroon ng magandang unawaan while we are at sea,” Abu said as he presided over the oath-taking of 851 PCG trainees for enlistment at the Coast Guard Fleet Parade Ground in Manila.
(What we discussed there became an instrument during my meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines. It became an instrument for me to tell him that the coast guards in the region had no reason not to reach an understanding while we are at sea.)
Southeast Asian coast guards also affirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, security, and friendship in the region and the need to enhance mutual trust and confidence, Abu said.
“Nagkakaisa tayo sa region, lahat ng mga coast guard, we respect each other, we continue to work harmoniously with one another. So naging paraan natin yon noong makausap natin ang ambassador ng China ay sinabi ko sa kanya sana maging ganito ang magiging relationship natin sa region,” Abu said.
(We are united in the region, all the coast guards. We respect each other, we continue to work harmoniously with one another. So when I spoke with the ambassador of China, I told him this will be our relationship in the region.)
“Bilang magkakaratig na bansa, we are espousing the spirit of good neighborhood in the region. So the Coast Guard being a universal service, iisa lang ang nature ng aming existence, ang nature ng trabaho namin and that is to ensure safety, security, and environmental protection. So sama-sama tayo doon,” he added.
(As neighbors, we are espousing the spirit of good neighborhood in the region. So the Coast Guard being a universal service, we have a common nature of existence. The nature of our work is to ensure safety, security, and environmental protection. So we are united in that.)
Asked about incidents of Filipino fishermen being prevented from fishing at Bajo de Masinloc, Abu said these reports need to be validated first but assured Filipino fishers that the Philippine Coast Guard would “always be there” to ensure their safety.
HEIGHTENED ALERT FOR HOLIDAYS
Meanwhile, the PCG chief also said the agency's 25,000-strong personnel will be on heightened alert as Filipinos prepare to travel this Christmas season.
He reminded travelers to prepare ahead of time to ensure smooth travel and their safety.
“Bigyan natin ang ating tauhan ng Coast Guard nationwide, we’ll put them on heightened alert and we’ll be reminding shipowners to ensure the seaworthiness of their sea vessels... at pinapaalaahan natin ang ating mga kababayan na magta-travel na planuhin nila nang maayos ang kanilang pagbiyahe para maging safe, convenient and secure ang pagbiyahe nila. Nandyan ang Philippine Coast Guard to help them,” Abu told reporters.
(We'll put coast guard personnel on heightened alert nationwide... And we are also reminding our compatriots to plan their travel thoroughly so that it would be safe, convenient and secure. The Philippine Coast Guard is there to help them.)
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