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14 April 2009

Subic Coast Guard auxiliary group fulfills environmental mandate

The now 134-strong Subic squadron of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA) has mobilized its forces for an environmental protection project following the formal commissioning of the volunteers group only two months ago.

The PCGA’s 102nd Squadron, as the Subic group is designated, recently armed themselves with shovels, rakes, garbage bags and other cleaning tools, and then scoured the stretch of coastlines for garbage near the Jungle Joe’s World theme park at Subic’s naval magazine area.

“Being a young organization, the group needs to touch base with the community to gain support for its future projects, hence we decided to undertake a beach clean-up,” said the squadron’s commandant, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator Armand Arreza.

Arreza, who has the honorary rank of captain in the PCGA, said the clean-up drive was technically the first project of the 102nd Squadron and he was glad it gained the support of business locators and residents in Subic.

He added that the project was also part of the PCGA’s mission in protecting the marine environment and ensuring maritime safety.

The Subic squadron, Arreza also said, has joined a similar activity organized by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Subic Station and held at barangay Calapacuan in Subic town last month.

Following the coastal clean-up project in the free port, members of the 102nd Squadron also welcomed into its circle 20 new recruits, who had volunteered their services to help the Coast Guard carry out its obligations.

Arreza said this only strengthens the view that Subic Bay has largely progressed with the rising tide of volunteerism on the part of its residents and community members.

Meanwhile, SBMA chairman Feliciano Salonga, who is an active PCGA official with the honorary rank of commodore, happily noted the growing number of members joining the 102nd Squadron.

Salonga said he expects further membership applications to rise significantly as the group’s environmental awareness and outreach program begin to permeate “every nook and corner of the Subic Bay Freeport.”

“Soon, the 102nd will be recognized as a very potent force in the promotion of safety of lives and properties at sea, as well as in the matter of marine environmental protection,” he added.

To help the 102nd Squadron fulfill its maritime mission, the SBMA has activated with the PCGA seven vessels that were obtained by the SBMA for its port development program, said Salonga.

These vessels, which range from 18 to 20 meters in length, could be dispatched for various PCGA operations like search and rescue, sea patrol, waste collection, firefighting, and oil skimming.

The PCGA is a uniformed, non-government organization with a military structure that parallels that of the PCG, and is a non-political, non-sectarian group, according to Salonga. (SBMA Corporate Communications))

PHOTO:
Members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary’s 102nd Squadron based at the Subic Bay Freeport collect garbage at a beach in the former naval magazine area, as part of the group’s mission to protect the marine environment.

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