By YUL MALICSE
April 16, 2011, 2:30am
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) convened last Friday (April ) its Counter Terrorism Course (CTC) in colorful ceremonies at the PCG headquarters in Manila, in cognizance and seeking to address modern-day threats of ‘‘piracy, terrorism and other maritime transitional crimes.’’
Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Wilfredo D. Tamayo, who led the agency officials in convening the CTC, said the training includes ‘‘close quarter battle’’ (CQB), small unit tactics, vessel boarding search and seizure (VBSS), tactical emergency response (TACER), marksmanship, explosive reconnaissance, beach defense perimeter and hand-to-hand combat.
A total of 40 personnel are currently undergoing the trying and difficult course.
According to Tamayo, as an aftermath of the Superferry 14 and the Davao Sasa Wharf bombing incidents in the past, “the Coast Guard Anti-Terrorist Unit (CGATU) was activated in 2007, where members from the PCG Special Operations Group (SOG) were trained in order to address hostile situations that may ‘endanger the safety of the riding public and vital port facilities.”
“Today, around 120 SOG members are qualified counter terrorist (CT)) personnel,” he said, adding that “equipage such as side arms, assault firearms (FAs), vests and inflatable boats are gradually being enhanced for the unit,” according to the Coast Guard chief.
‘‘Public safety and security” are PCG’s paramount concern, so it has also intensified its security measures by deploying more, sea marshals, K-9 alert aniffers which have been very useful in detecting explosives and illegal drugs on board ships and in the ports or terminals during previous operations by PCG; SOG personnel, and likewise activated Deployable Response group (DRG) in anticipation of the influx of passengers for the Lenten Season.
Admiral Tamayo stressed the importance and need to enhance vigilance, preparedness and round-the-clock visibility required of all PCG units nationwide.
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