Governor Art Yap and Admiral George Ursabia, Jr. (PCG Commandant) sign the Memorandum of Agreement between the Provincial Government of Bohol and the Philippine Coastguard to promote the protection and safety of the seas of Balicasag island and the province of Bohol.
Through the agreement, the PCG continues the construction of the radar station and establishment of its Central Visayas Regional Training Facility.
“The radar network of linking all crafts together is really something that we should have done long ago and something that I have supported for quite some time”, Yap said, recalling his support for budget allocation to the PCG when he was in Congress.
Yap also expressed support for the development of PCG facilities in Balicasag Island, which includes the establishment of a regional training facility and the completion of a radar station. He said this would have been very helpful during the 2017 Abu Sayaff incursion where patrol crafts, bangkas and motorboats would have had identifying signals.
Gov. Yap also saw the importance of the Coast Guard when the Dos Palmas incident happened when he was still in the Cabinet, in which they received a report that the original objective of the terrorist was Bohol, specifically the guests in Balicasag.
“What stopped them from pushing through was the Coast Guard Lighthouse Station. The sense of gratitude from that point on for me, because of you just being there standing guard and standing watch over us is something that many people do not know but I as governor would like to put down in history right now thru my remarks in this event, that the Coast Guard was very much the force that basically protected us at that time by standing and watching over us,” Yap said as he expressed his gratitude and his support to the PCG.
Ursabia for his part said the arrangement is the first of its kind, a model that the PCG hopes to replicate in other parts of the country.
Thanking the governor for his inspiring welcome, Ursabia assured Yap of the Coast Guard’s commitment to ensure maritime safety and security as well as marine and environmental protection in Bohol.
The agreement also provides for the installation of a water desalination facility on the island with a capacity of at least fifteen thousand (15,000) liters per day.
Together with the Admiral were Wife Agnes Ursabia, daughter Dr. Germain Angela Ursabia, RADM Jose William Isaga (Dist. Commander Central Visayas), Commo Allan Corpuz (Dist. Commander Western Visayas, LTJG Julius Rebucas (Acting Station Commander-Bohol), and Capt. Holger Horn PCGA.
Also present in the event were BM Ricky Masamayor, BM Mimi Boniel, BM Lucille Lagunay, Prov’l Administrator Kathyrin Pioquinto, Atty. Nilo Ahat, and Atty. John Vistal.
The coordination of the province and the PCG is also expected to ensure the enactment of regulations, especially in activities related to tourism.