In anticipation of Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines January 15-19, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG ) has created two maritime task forces to secure the maritime terrain where the Pope will hold activities, particularly at the vicinity of the Mall of Asia in Pasay City, Luneta Park in Manila and in Tacloban City.
The task force aims to ensure that threats which could possibly be initiated along the coastal waters will be negated.
PCG Commandant Vice Admiral Rodolfo D Isorena has issued a directive to all Coast Guard Districts and Units to undertake serious maritime security operations against security threats to the Pope.
Coast Guard Districts National Capital Region – Central Luzon (CGDNCR-CL) and Eastern Visayas likewise prepared the Maritime Security Plan, Sustained and Intensified Seaborne Patrol Plan, Weapons and Communications Plan, Contingency Plan, Medical Emergency Plan, Security Checklist and other relevant plans in the areas of operations. Further, the Coast Guard has already made a close coordination with PCG Counterparts, Philippine Navy (PN), Philippine National Police (PNP) and other concerned government agencies.
Quick Response Teams (QRT) and Emergency Response Units will be also strategically deployed in the areas of operations to augment in the implementation of safety and security plan. The PCG Helo was also designated to act as an Air Ambulance in case of emergency evacuation and to conduct maritime security surveillance during the papal visit.
Vice Admiral Isorena affirmed that the PCG’s assets and personnel are now in the high state of capability and readiness to provide maritime security to ensure the safety of Pope Francis and His delegates.